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Verizon to challenge Netflix, Hulu. Winner take all?

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Peter Morgan/AP/FILE

(Read caption) Verizon could launch a Netflix competitor.

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Well, this adds a new wrinkle to the relationship between cable companies and content providers.

In recent years, a lot of people have opted to forgo pricey cable plans in favor of streaming movies and TV shows from companies such as Netflix and Hulu. And it’s no secret that those two companies have had a tense relationship with telecom giants such as Verizon and Comcast, since they’re pushing a lot of content over the networks. But now, according to Reuters, Verizon may get into the streaming game itself: Big Red has plans to launch its own standalone video streaming service next year, offering another source of movies and TV shows to those with (or without) cable plans.

The details of the streaming package are far from final: Reuters cites only “several people briefed on the plan,” and of course the plan could change (or fall through) before its rumored 2012 debut. Reuters reports, though, that Verizon has been negotiating deals with media companies for more than two years, which means it’s likely that it’s seriously committed to the idea. The service would be “limited in its scope,” offering movie packages similar to the Starz Play collection (which will be pulled from Netflix’s streaming section next year due to failed contract negotiations), and kids’ entertainment from companies such as Disney and Viacom.

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