Go90, Verizon’s mobile video service, is two years old and probably ends up spending a lifetime.
The future of Go90 has been increasingly obscured since Verizon acquired Yahoo in 2016 and merged the portal with AOL into a new division called Oath in 2017. Following this winding up, Verizon began to take the content that was distributed on Go90 and distribute it through the various Oath outlets. It would also have reduced the purchase of original content for the Go90, which raised questions about the fact that Oath was stripping Go90 for its parts, uh, programming.
These questions followed sworn general manager Tim Armstrong in Huntington Beach, California on Tuesday when he took the stage at the Recode Code Media conference and asked if Oath will close the Go90 mark as it distributes its content elsewhere and dilutes its value an autonomous distribution point.
“The mark [Go90] will stay, I do not know how long, but for now, it stays,” said Armstrong.
Not exactly a vote of confidence But the statement is not necessarily a death knell either. However, in the context of Armstrong’s other remarks about Go90 on stage Tuesday, the script seems to be on the wall, though it’s not yet on the Go90 gravestone.
When Verizon launched Go90 in September 2015, the company’s goal was to create a standalone video platform at the Netflix or Hulu or YouTube. At the time, Armstrong, who had recently joined Verizon through his acquisition of AOL, was wary of his prospects somewhat given the difficulty of creating a new platform from scratch. He told Verizon’s executives that it was “very likely that [the company would] would have hit a huge amount of times on the way” to make the Go90 a success, Armstrong said.
Where the oath continued to bang his toe was on Go90 as a distribution point. While he had hoped to attract a large audience to the platform, he had platforms like AOL and Yahoo that already had a large audience. So Verizon moved his strategy with Go90 after having folded Oath last year.
“Go90 will be redistributed inside the super-large distribution we have [within Oath through AOL and Yahoo],” said Armstrong, describing Go90 as “a content engine, a content library.”
But if the role of Go90 is now the content library for other Oath distribution points, but that it does not acquire new content, how long does the content of Go90 will become the content of Oath and Go90 will disappear completely from the image? Armstrong did not say, but maybe he did not need it.