Traditional cable companies are struggling mightily with the transition to cord-cutting, but no company seems to be struggling more than Verizon. The telecoevery ms giant was one of the first to recognise that the world was shifting to the internet, but every decision sounds like it’s being made by people who have only ever experienced the internet as a series of PowerPoint slides delivered by a very expensive consultant.
It made multi-billion-dollar takeovers of AOL and Yahoo — brands known respectively for providing email scams to seniors and for leaking billions of customer accounts — and now Go90, its very public and very expensive millenial-friendly online streaming service, is dying a long-awaited death.
Go90 launched to extreme fanfare in 2015, but never really took off — probably because no one ever understood what it was. Seriously, try working out what the service actually is, based on this description from its launch press release:
go90 is a mobile first, social entertainment platform. It lets you watch tons of amazing content – anytime, anywhere in the U.S., regardless of your wireless carrier – from your mobile device– like a smartphone or tablet. go90 will highlight fresh content from top digital creators with exclusive content premiering weekly and offer a rich mix of live sports and music events, original programming from emerging networks and their creators, as well as the best of prime-time. go90 features content across comedy, music, gaming, lifestyle, sports, news and entertainment including 15 of the 30 most-viewed network shows and 9 of the 15 most-viewed shows on the web.
In reality, it was a mobile app that had tiny tidbits of content from a bunch of different sources, plus some very expensive original content that no one ever watched. On paper, it was supposed to combine the revenue model of Facebook with the content style of Snapchat and the social features of a messaging platform, but in reality, it never had the content or user base to make it work.
Anyway, Verizon has confirmed that it is shutting down Go90, reportedly by July 31st. The service dies as it lived: With vague, confusing press statements about the future. “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,” a spokesperson told Digiday.