Verizon is one of the biggest wireless carriers in the United States and has never been shy about throwing money around, but a huge number of acquisitions and a large media spending bill haven't been quite enough to bring their struggling Go90 video service into the spotlight, as some insiders tell it. Sources say that the whole thing started with near-unbridled optimism. Some were a bit doubtful that Verizon could successfully make the jump to a hip, digital-first media company, but once the money was on the table and the service was beginning to be built, competition for control over Go90's future was fierce. Brian Angiolet, a longstanding figure in the company, wound up at the helm when the smoke cleared.
It didn't take long after the service launched for everyone to be able to tell that things were not going as planned. In fact, the state of Go90 was pretty far off from success, and it didn't take an insider, or even a genius, to see it. What was a bit less clear, however, was where the missteps were. With the dust largely settled and the struggling service seemingly languishing in a sort of living stasis, many within the company agree that the biggest problem was a lack of direction. Go90 drew heavily from AOL's media selection for content, and the likes of Netflix and YouTube for inspiration; the target was clearly millennials, but what of other customers, and did Verizon really know millennials well enough to appeal to them? The answer thus far has been a resounding no. Verizon splashed out bigtime on Go90; they hired tons of staff, including teams of contractors to manually tag thousands of videos, and they spared no expense is bringing tons of premium content to the service. None of it seemed to do much good.
A majority of the original staff from the OnCue product that Verizon bought and spun into Go90 are gone now, replaced by internet video bigwigs and demographic analysts who hold the promise of helping Verizon hit the bullseye. Marketing efforts, better tagging and sorting of content, more premium content, and technical improvements to the app are all apparently on the horizon for Go90, but this will, internally, be the app's third go around. The sheer complexity of this sink or swim moment for Go90 is not helped by the fact that competing carriers are offering consumers some seriously compelling reasons to contemplate their complacency with Verizon's services. Things don't look great for Go90, but there is also every chance that it will come around.