Verizon Go90 App Shutting Down
Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is shutting down its Go90 video app on July 31st. Go90 offered a mix of original short-form videos and licensed programming from official networks for free. Verizon spent more than $1.2 billion on the Go90 project.
The Go90 team and its operations have been folded into Oath, Verizon’s new multimedia unit comprised of AOL and Yahoo’s core web assets. The fate of the employees working on Go90 is uncertain. A Verizon rep said there will not be significant layoffs as the result of the shutdown.
The app, which launched back in 2015, was named after the process of turning a smartphone to a horizontal orientation to watch longer-form video content. Verizon hoped that television shows and live sports would make its platform appealing to younger audiences. The goal was to subsidize the app by selling advertising.
Go90 offered content from partners including AwesomenessTV and Vice and had exclusive deals with the National Football League and National Basketball League. Go90’s originals included “Top Grier” (an unscripted comedy), social-media thriller “@tagged”, sports comedy “Now We’re Talking”, and political comedy series “Embeds”. Over the last six months, Go90’s total audience was more than 17 million unique viewers a month.
Go90’s programming never really caught on, although one Go90-financed film, Kobe Bryant’s animated short Dear Basketball, did win an Oscar. Oath CEO Tim Armstrong previously talked about transforming Go90 from a standalone service into a content library. According to a Verizon rep, Go90 will return the content rights for its commissioned content to the original production owners. The company will work with content partners to figure out next steps.
Verizon plans to continue distributing original video across its Oath properties. Oath’s well-established digital media brands include Yahoo, Engadget, and the Huffington Post. A Verizon spokesperson 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.”