Link: Go90’s Future Questionable ☍

Shared on December 9, 2017

Sahil Patel for Digiday:

The Go90 team has hit pause on original-content spending as Verizon works out kinks in the aftermath of its Oath merger and the Go90 team tries to establish a budget for the coming year, according to multiple sources. Go90 executives are still taking pitches — and were buying new shows as recently as September — but it’s unclear how Go90 will fit into Verizon’s growing digital media portfolio going forward, sources said. When asked whether Go90 would exist under Oath, the digital media entity that houses AOL and Yahoo, or some other Verizon business unit, one source said it’s “literally being worked out as we speak. But these things take time.”

Launched a little over two years ago, Go90 started out as an ad-supported streaming video platform offering a mix of short- and mid-form original series from top digital media companies and talent, libraries of existing digital and TV programming, and live sports, thanks to Verizon’s deals with various sports leagues. Between buying content and marketing the service, Verizon has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in total — with little audience to show for it so far.

Let me preface this commentary with my own bias explained—as a company, I’m not a fan of many things Verizon has done:locking features and custom firmware on dumbphones back in the 2000s, doing a lousy job of rolling out fiber to some neighborhoods, their response to not having an iPhone with dumb ads for their Droid-branded devices, brainwashing customers that any other provider is going to be Swiss cheese coverage everywhere, and this new shift to try to be a media company by buying up Yahoo and AOL and creating a new advertising-centric company called Oath. Oh, I almost forgot that they also employed the guy trying to kill net neutrality.

While Go90 is serviceable as a platform, there’s not a whole lot of compelling content (I only use it for NWSL games…Go Reign!), nor is there an Apple TV app, so the games I watched went from being on YouTube to a service that required me to fuss with AirPlay. That’s not necessarily Go90’s fault, but if you want to be a major player for streaming, you need both mobile and streaming box apps (Amazon could get away without it, but few realistically can). At this point, Go90 needs both content and the care to make it feel like it should be competing with the big kids of video streaming.

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