The endgame for Verizon’s long-suffering mobile-first video platform Go90 finally appears to be at hand, with the wireless company folding the platform into its Oath Brands unit.
The decision was revealed yesterday by Oath Brands CEO Tim Armstrong. Speaking at the Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, California, Armstrong said, “We had two separate strategies now, now it will be one strategy. We have taken Go90 into Oath.”
Armstrong spoke of Go90 the way most folks in the video business have for the last two years—in the past tense.
“Go90 was a super ambitious project, which was essentially trying to start an internet mobile video service from scratch,” Armstrong told reporters. “It was highly likely we’re going to stub our toe a huge number of times.”
As Go90 folds into Oath and feeds its broader collection of platform, look for the brand to slowly fade away.
“The brand will remain I don’t know how long,” Armstrong said.
Verizon formed Oath last year, combining its recently acquired AOL and Yahoo businesses, and putting AOL chief Armstrong in charge. Prior to merging AOL Video into Oath, that unit had been distributing about 15% of Go90’s content. In October, Verizon confirmed that it was distributing Go90 programming to the broader flora and fauna of Oath, which also includes Yahoo News, Yahoo Sports, HuffPost, Engadget, TechCrunch, Yahoo Finance and Tumblr.
Launching with great fanfare in the fall of 2015, Go90 has struggled to find an audience, despite Verizon’s repeated major shakeups.
The platform was originally developed and launched by the OnCue team, acquired from Intel. In January of last year, Verizon laid off 155 staffers from that unit, including General Manager Chip Canter, and moved operational control to another team it had recently acquired, former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar’s Vessel. Nothing worked.
For his part, Armstrong believes he can salvage at least some Go90 components to boost Oath’s larger agenda. “The content deals really match with distribution,” he added.