It’s all change at Verizon’s Go90 streaming venture with reports that Vessel is now driving the service after the departure of GM Chip Canter. The former NBCU executive joined the Verizon video service in April 2016 but has parted ways with the company. According to former employees, it was always going to be a hard job for Canter, because of issues with the technology and the negative deals that had already been made. The same sources pointed to changes that had been made, such as more intensive audience targeting, but although Canter brought more control to the situation it was to no avail.
Go90 has never taken off in the way that was anticipated and has been facing well-documented difficulties over the last few months. In January Verizon laid off over 150 people amid plans to rebuild the service with talent from Vessel, a company that was acquired by the giant carrier in October last year. Verizon is now confident that Vessel co-founders Richard Tom and Jason Kilar, along with the rest of the team, are fully integrated with the running of the service and doing a good job. In a statement, Verizon said that Vessel would now be fully responsible for Go90 and other mobile digital video products with immediate effect.
Go90 was launched in October 2015, inspired by the likes of Netflix and YouTube, and is a non-subscription streaming service supported by ads offering content such as movies, TV shows, and clips. Verizon invested huge amounts of money into the project, reportedly more than $200 million, with a big media spending bill offering premium content, further staff expenditure, and other company acquisitions. However, some analysts have pointed to a lack of direction and the platform continues to struggle, with analysts in early February describing it as “pretty much dead.” Following this, Go90 was the subject of a T-Mobile spoof campaign last month, with the competing carrier asking for re-branding ideas. T-Mobile CEO John Legere even went so far as to offer a year of Hulu Plus, the company’s competitor to Go90. It remains to be seen if the team from Vessel can turn things around for Verizon’s streaming option, following the release of the Go90 3.0 rebuild in late March.