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Verizon/AOL to Launch Go90 This Week, Publicis Signs an Exclusive

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As advertising week 2015 began in New York City, Verizon and AOL threw a massive coming out party for Go90—Verizon's recently announced streaming video service for young adults—inviting hundreds of brand and agency representatives that they hoped would take an interest. Called the AOL Future Front, the Monday evening event promised a look at what's coming next—and what's coming is an OTT service that's geared for the young.

Go90 will launch on Thursday, and the service isn't nearly as cloistered as it first seemed. Rather than being confined to Verizon subscribers, Go90 will be available to anyone through free iOS or Android apps. The event offered an early look at the service, which puts a fresh millennial spin on an OTT bundle. Navigation along the bottom of the home screen offers four choices: My Feed, Following, Profile, and Explore. Notice that there isn't a traditional channel guide. Go90 is organized thematically and socially. The closest thing to a channel guide is the Following area, which shows the channels, shows, people, and crews (yes, crews) that the viewer choses to follow.

Social features look clever and well integrated (we didn't get hands-on time with a working Go90 device). Chat is integrated in the viewing area in a way that supports spontaneous conversations, and viewers can create quick clips from what they're watching to share on the platform or through their other social networking accounts.

Verizon and AOL were proud to announce that Go90 has already gotten major agency support. Publicis Groupe has purchased an exclusive on Go90's first three months for its agencies and clients, starting in Q4 2015. It will continue on nonexclusively until Q3 2016.

While early reports suggested Verizon was going it alone on Go90 and not using AOL for ad support, that is not the case. The launch celebrated the union of Verizon's distribution and AOL's ad technology and content.

Go90 is "a product that's built on the backbone of Verizon's mobile experience, and combines that with AOL's mobile technology and sales engine," said James M. Norton, AOL's global head of media sales, in an interview.

While the presentation didn't go in-depth on content, Verizon says Go90 will have 15 of the 30 most-watched cable networks (ESPN, Adult Swim, Comedy Central, VH1, Nickelodeon, MTV, Spike, Food Network, TLC, Discovery Network, FXX, NFL Network, HGTV, BET, and Investigation Discovery) and 9 of the most-watched multi-channel networks. Go90 video will be free and ad-supported.

"AOL will be your partner to help you through this disruption," said Bob Lord, president of AOL, Inc., wrapping up the evening's pitch to advertisers. "The disruption is now and it's here. The revolution has begun."

A Go90 screen

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