Starting today, Verizon FiOS TV subscribers in the Washington metro area will be able to tune to a new local television channel, FiOS1, for local weather, traffic, news, sports and community features. FiOS1 is Verizon's first owned-and-operated television channel in the United States, and the company expects to launch similar channels in other markets this year.
FiOS1 is on Channel 1 in the FiOS TV channel lineup and is available at no extra cost to FiOS TV digital subscribers in Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland.
FiOS1 highlights include:
- State-of-the-art local traffic and weather presentations available in several formats throughout the day. FiOS1 will deliver "Traffic on the 1s" and "Weather on the 5s."
- Info-Bars, located at the top and bottom of the panoramic video screen display, will have designated areas for the latest traffic, weather, news and community information.
- Professional, original news content from W*USA9, the Gannett-owned local CBS affiliate, and news headlines from The Associated Press in the Info-Bars.
- "Push-Pause," a Verizon original production in collaboration with Michael Rosenblum's HyperLocal News Productions. "Push-Pause" features high-impact hyper-local news and community stories shot by trained citizen video journalists.
- "Limbo Local" - a cross-platform auction and sweepstakes game offering FiOS1 viewers the chance to win cool prizes every week. Viewers can use their mobile phones to text-message their bids, or they can bid by computer.
- FiOS1 sports from hometown teams, including Georgetown and George Mason University, and Northern Virginia high-school football and basketball games. Working with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, FiOS1 will also present professional baseball games. The first MASN game on FiOS1 is March 31 when Baltimore plays Washington.
Webb, a former ABC news producer, said that FiOS1 will evolve as Verizon gains more time in the market. "We've worked with recognized technology and graphic-design experts like Harlan Neugeboren and J.C. Burns to create a next-generation viewing experience, and we'll continue to enhance the content in response to viewer feedback," she said. "We know that our viewers' time is valuable, and we want to make it enjoyable for them to turn to FiOS1 again and again for the nonstop information they tell us they want. Our goal is to make FiOS1 the channel that our subscribers will want to leave on."
Verizon's first original programming is "Push-Pause," a high-impact community features and profiles program produced by citizen video journalists (VJs) who live in the area. Trained by HyperLocal News Productions, the Citizen VJs use the latest digital camcorders to produce high-quality videos that bring viewers up close with the communities that Verizon covers. FiOS1 also plans to invite viewers to submit their own local community stories for possible showing on "Push Pause."
FiOS1 will also present a new program called "Limbo Local" that lets viewers use their mobile phones to text-message bids for items throughout the day. In a twist on the conventional notion of an auction, the person who submits the lowest unique bid at the close of the auction wins the prize. FiOS1 subscribers will also be able to play online, making "Limbo Local" available to subscribers at home and on the go. In a cross-platform promotion, Verizon Wireless is offering its own version of the game to its V CAST subscribers, and FiOS1 will air V CAST's national, weekly and daily auctions and announce V CAST winners. During the first four weeks of "Limbo Local," FiOS1 and V CAST subscribers will be able to play Limbo for a 40-inch LCD high-definition TV; a Blu-ray progressive DVD player; a complete surround-sound system; and a portable DVD player for the car.
FiOS1 will feature 20 hours of sports programming a week, including some high-school and college games in season. Verizon is an official partner of Georgetown University Athletics and has secured the rights to air certain George Mason University sporting events.
FiOS1 will also develop a high school sports highlights show, currently airing only on the Internet, for the TV screen. The show, "Game Day TV," created for Verizon, will be a 30-minute Northern Virginia high school sports preview of the upcoming games for the weekend and a wrap-up of the week's past match-ups. The show will also feature interviews with coaches and players from high schools throughout Northern Virginia.