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Verizon Buys 24.5% of AwesomenessTV For Go90 Content

April 6, 2016 - Written By Mihai Matei

Verizon’s intentions to become a part of the video streaming business became rather obvious in September 2015 when the U.S.-based carrier introduced its new Go90 video hosting service targeting younger mobile users as its primary customer base. Although the service hasn’t really been a huge hit since its release, and while Verizon’s CFO previously said that Go90 isn’t expected to become profitable in 2016, it looks like Verizon is now putting more effort and money into its new venture by acquiring a minority stake in DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV.

Content produced by AwesomenessTV has been available for streaming through Verizon’s Go90 service since it was launched, but now the U.S.-based telecom company is getting directly involved in the joint venture’s content creation after buying 24.5% of AwesomenessTV from DreamWorks Animation. DreamWorks acquired AwesomenessTV in 2013 for roughly $120 million and continues to own 51% of the company, while the remaining 24.5% is owned by Hearts who purchased its share in 2014 for $325 million. Fast forward to this day and Verizon Wireless is said to have invested $650 million in order to own 24.5% of the company. As for the reason behind this acquisition, it all seems to come down to generating more content for Go90. Verizon claims that AwesomenessTV will create “a first-of-its-kind premium short-form mobile video service featuring leading talent in front of and behind the camera”. And by “premium”, the company intends to offer the new content on Go90 through a subscription tier. This is unlike most of the content available on Go90, which is generally supported by ads and thus, it’s accessible for free by everyone.

According to AwesomenessTV CEO Brian Robbins, the new subscription-based content will become available at the end of 2016 at the earliest, or in early 2017 at the latest. The CEO also added that “the next evolution in short-form video is super-premium video, on par with cable networks like HBO”. But whether Verizon’s decision to create subscription-based content for Go90 pays off or not remains to be seen. Earlier in January 2016, Verizon revealed that Go90 is gaining popularity, and sure enough, over 8,000 titles were available for streaming at the time, along with more than 35 exclusive series.