Verizon CFO on Go90: ' We had to do some things with the platform,' expect metrics in Q3

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said the carrier is starting to see some momentum in its Go90 business after it conducted some unspecified work on the service's platform. And he said Verizon would provide some insight into its Go90 business sometime in the third quarter.

"We had to do some things with the platform. That is all now done," Shammo said today at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2016 Telecom & Media Conference. Shammo did not provide details on the kind of work Verizon conducted on its Go90 platform.

"And if you look at some of the ratings around Go90, they're starting to go up, and it was because of some platform issues," he said. "Now that we're through that, you'll start to see some momentum gained again. And we're starting to put some really creative content out there."

Verizon executives have said in the past that the company would provide more insight into the company's Go90 mobile video offering, and Shammo reiterated that Verizon would do so, likely at the end of the third quarter of this year.

Shammo also restated Verizon's overall Go90 business strategy. He said younger Americans, typically those under 30 years old, primarily view video on their mobile phones, with the TV coming in second. "I do think the world is moving to a wireless world," he said.

"Linear TV is slowly declining," Shammo said, explaining that Go90 is an attempt to deliver short-from content to younger users on mobile phones from a wide range of wireless carriers, and then to make money by selling ads and subscriptions for premium content. "There's a large opportunity in mobile-first content."

Shammo's comments are notable in light of what Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said at a recent investor conference about Go90. McAdam said that the carrier is pleased with the performance of its new Go90 mobile video offering, but he acknowledged that the service has received more publicity than Verizon had intended. "It did get a little bit overhyped, and we contributed to that to some extent," he said, adding that developing popular content "is not exactly our strong suit."

Indeed, Verizon's Go90 is gradually gaining traction but faces "an uphill battle" against other mobile video and social networking apps and services, according to a study by UBS analysts. In a lengthy report examining uptake of Verizon's mobile-focused video offering, UBS said Verizon's move earlier this year to zero-rate Go90 data resulted in a "brief uptick" in iPhone downloads compared to other entertainment apps. The app "neared its highest ranking to date" compared to all free apps in early April, rising to #202 in Apple's App Store and ranking #13 against all iPhone entertainment apps at the time.

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