Have you ever searched for Bill Murray films and found nothing but Garfield 2? Attempted to remember your password for yet another streaming video app? Or browsed past Caroline In The City reruns in a listing of “New Releases”? You will. And the company that will bring it to you: AT&T. According to a report from the Associated Press, AT&T has joined forces with a former top News Corp. executive to create “an online video venture that could rival Netflix and Hulu.” At the outset, though—and despite more than $500 million in seed money—AT&T’s project is more likely to “rival” Crackle, Crunchyroll, Yahoo Screen, and other streaming services whose content is either too meager or too specialized to make a dent in the Netflix juggernaut. Even Amazon, a company that is willing to throw money at new ventures without much concern for making that money back, has struggled to gain traction for its Prime video offerings.
Nonetheless, AT&T wants its own Internet video mainframe thing because AT&T’s kids said that’s what all the cool telecom conglomerates (like Verizon) are getting into these days. And if nothing else, AT&T will be able to check off another one of those promises that Tom Selleck made on its behalf a couple of decades ago. Still waiting on those fancy phone booths, though.