A Change in Direction for Go90 as Verizon Fires 155 Workers
Launched in September 2015, Verizon's Go90 never found a place with its target audience. Now, it's getting a redo as it's rebuilt by a different team.
Late last week, Verizon laid off 155 Go90 employees, Variety reports, most of whom worked in the company's main office in San Jose, California. The free streaming video service is available through mobile apps, and was launched as a fresh millennial spin on over-the-top bundled services. It offers deep social integrations and the ability to create and share quick clips.
Verizon struck big licensing deals to acquire content for the service, but poor audience engagement numbers led to advertising partners falling away.
Go90 will now be rebuilt by Richard Tom, one co-founder of Vessel, the streaming video service created by Hulu founders in 2015, then acquired by Verizon in October 2016. Vessel was shuttered on October 31, 2016. Despite Vessel's failing, Variety reports Tom has a strong reputation within the company.
Verizon denies the new leadership and staffing signals a change in strategy for Go90: "These changes are not indicative to a change in our strategy and we remain committed to rapidly enhancing our existing online video products and delivering new products," it said in a statement sent to Variety.
Serving videos to mobile-first teens seemed like an easy money grab, but Go90 is the latest in a long line of platforms to never find an audience.
With Oath focused on distribution at scale and building an audience across platforms, a standalone video service just didn't make sense.
There are some major sports stars on Go90 series MVP—including New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski, one of the show's producers—but they're not the ones throwing pitches.
There's a lot of original online video being created for young viewers. It's hard for the players to stand apart when they all look the same.
Verizon has also launched the 3.0 version of Go90, its ad-supported streaming service for millennials, now featuring more focused content areas.
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.
Go90 viewers will soon be able to watch daily NBA highlights and some exclusive content, and purchase access out-of-market games.
The streaming service will launch on iOS and Android on Thursday, providing a millennial-oriented, mobile-first take on OTT video.