Verizon and AwesomenessTV Kill Premium Service Before it Launches
Does Verizon have a game plan? The chaos coming out of its video division suggests a mad scramble for Gen Z viewers, but no real results.
In another sign the Generation Z over-the-top market has already reached its saturation point, Verizon and AwesomenessTV ended the premium video service they were co-creating before it launched.
The unnamed service was announced in April 2016, when Verizon paid $159 million for 24.5 percent of AwesomenessTV. DreamWorks Animation (now owned by Comcast) is the majority owner with 51 percent, while Hearst also owns 24.5 percent.
The service was to create premium video that would first be available exclusively on Verizon U.S. platforms, with AwesomenessTV getting the rights to worldwide distribution after that. The service was led by Samie Kim Falvey, who had been head of comedy for ABC Entertainment. Falvey is no longer with the AwesomenessTV.
Rather than creating a new service, Verizon and AwesomenessTV say they will "double down on the Awesomess episodic series output" for Verizon's Go90 service.
Speaking at this week's Code Media conference, AwesomenessTV CEO Brian Robbins
addressed Go90's future. “I think it’s really slow, slow going,” Variety quoted him as saying. “I think the audience is small right now but growing right now over the last six months. They pivoted the product a lot.”
Go90 is facing its own challenges these days. In January, Verizon laid off 155 Go90 employees. It then tasked the Vessel team with rebuilding Go90. Verizon acquired Vessel in October 2016 and closed the service the same month.
In the "72-Hour Challenge," Verizon and Digiflare created mobile and set-top apps for media organizations at a breakneck pace.
RatedRed.com will target young adults in the heartland, while Seriously.TV will offer news-based humor clips throughout the day.
Verizon's free app-based video bundle for mobile-using millennials never found an audience. Now, the team behind Vessel will rebuild it.
The MCN is also cutting an unspecific number of jobs, sources say, as Disney trims costs and searches for breakout stars.
Verizon has also launched the 3.0 version of Go90, its ad-supported streaming service for millennials, now featuring more focused content areas.