Verizon hires former YouTube and Vessel exec Kirkbride to lead Go90 content

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has hired former YouTube and Vessel executive Ivana Kirkbride as chief content officer for its mobile video platform Go90.

Kirkbride worked at YouTube from 2011 to 2015 and was instrumental in the online video giant's entry into premium original content. She was poached last summer to do the same task for former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar's online video start-up, Vessel — a platform that is struggling to find momentum. 

For its part, Go90 hasn't lit the world on fire either in its quest to create a rapt audience of Millennial-aged mobile video consumers. 

UBS said last month that while G90 is gaining traction, it faces "an uphill battle" against other mobile video and social networking apps and services. According to FierceWireless, Verizon increased its advertising spending earlier this year, leading to a "brief uptick" in Go90 downloads, but the app has yet to emerge as a threat to competitors such as YouTube, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Instagram and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX).

Launching in September of last year, Verizon bills Go90 as a "mobile-first' ad-supported video platform. Content on the platform includes licensed shows and networks from linear programmers, as well as short-form digital fare from AwesomenessTV, BuzzFeed, Defy Media, Fullscreen, Maker Studios and Video Media. 

On July 1, Go90 launched The Runner, a reality series produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

The show was scheduled to debut on ABC in 2001 but was pulled due to security concerns following the attacks of 9/11. Affleck and Damon produced the show through Project Greenlight, a documentary series that recently returned to HBO.

For more:
- read this Recode story
- read this Variety story

Related articles:
Mobile video's simple math: quality video equals higher ad spending
Verizon's Walden on the hot seat as the carrier looks to grow its digital media business
Verizon ups ante in mobile video with Go90's launch of 'The Runner'

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