Verizon eyes expanding local TV beyond DC area

NEW YORK, March 25 Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:42pm EDT

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NEW YORK, March 25 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) is aiming to offer local television services in markets beyond the Washington DC metropolitan area, a spokesman for the company said on Wednesday.

Verizon made the comment after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company was planning to offer a local television channel for the New York market this summer, in a story that cited people familiar with the matter.

Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe declined to comment on specific plans for the New York market but said that the company is interested in offering local services in all markets where it offers its FiOS television service.

"We would look at every FiOS market as a place to do a local news service as we have done in metropolitan Washington DC," Rabe said.

It said that its local TV service in northern Virginia and Maryland was among the top 20 percent viewership of all the channels it carries in those DC metropolitan area markets.

The service includes content such as weather reports and local sports news as well as feature stories.

Telephone service providers Verizon and AT&T Inc (T.N) have been building out television services in recent years to help them compete with cable providers such as Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC.N). (Reporting by Sinead Carew, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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