Set forth with a big launch party, splashy program deals and a confounding name back in the fall of 2015, go90 has been a poster child for overhyped, underperforming digital media products ever since. But Verizon has finally put the mobile video platform to rest.
Verizon had initiallysaid the platform would be rolled into Oath Brands, the portfolio of assets created following the wireless giant’s acquisitions of AOL and Yahoo. But the company now says that effective July 31, go90 will not be part of the venture.
“Following the creation of Oath, go90 will be discontinued,” Verizon said in a statement. “Verizon will focus on building its digital-first brands at scale in sports, finance, news and entertainment for today’s mobile consumers and tomorrow’s 5G applications.”
However, speaking at a media technology conference in February, Oath CEO Tim Armstrong seemed to describe go90 in the past tense, rather than a brand that would exist in an ongoing way within Oath.
“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.”
This was the kicker: “The brand will remain I don’t know how long,” Armstrong added
According to Digiday, Verizon spent $1.2 billion over the last three and a half years to launch and support the platform.
Go90 was launched as a free-to-view virtual MVPD targeted to mobile phone users. Verizon spent amply on original content, tying up programming deals with traditional cable network operators and buying digital video providers like Awesomeness TV.
The wireless company hoped to use the digital advertising acumen of AOL to monetize a mobile-first platform targeted to the Snapchat age. But go90 was able to catch on with few members of its millennial target audience.
Verizon attempted multiple shakeups to try to breath life into the platform, which was originally developed and launched by the OnCue team Verizon 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 from former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar’s Vessel. Nothing worked.
For his part, Armstrong said in February that Oath can salvage at least some Go90 components to boost Oath’s larger agenda.
“The content deals really match with distribution,” he added.