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IndustryOnline video
FoundedOctober 1, 2015 (2015-10-01)
DefunctJuly 31, 2018 (2018-07-31)
United States
Key people
Brian Angiolet (SVP Chief Content Officer), Richard Tom (GM and CTO, Verizon Digital Entertainment)
ProductsStreaming service
OwnerVerizon Communications

go90 was an American Internet television service and mobile app owned and operated by Verizon Communications. The service was positioned as a mobile-oriented "social entertainment platform" targeted primarily towards millennials, featuring a mixture of new and acquired content from various providers. The service was available exclusively within the United States.

The service was plagued by an unsuccessful launch, credited to poor content discoverability and a lack of firm content strategy, resulting in managerial turnover (including a relaunch of the service by the staff of Verizon acquisition and former competitor, Vessel). Including acquisitions that became the basis of the service (such as Intel's OnCue project, and later Vessel), it was estimated that Verizon had spent $1.2 billion on the service.[1]

On July 31, 2018, after attempts to promote go90's content via Verizon's AOL and Yahoo! properties (including blogging platform Tumblr), the service was shut down.


In January 2014, Verizon acquired the talent and assets of OnCue—a then-planned subscription streaming service in development by Intel—for around $200 million.[2][3][4] In September 2015, Verizon unveiled a streaming service based on the assets, known as go90. It was described as being a mobile-first "social entertainment platform" targeting millennial demographics, featuring video content from various partners, as well as features such as the ability to join "crews" related to shows, and to create clips from its shows and share them on social networks. The name "go90" referred to the practice of rotating a smartphone to landscape orientation to watch videos, a 90-degree rotation.[5] Verizon planned to leverage ad technology and content assets it acquired in its purchase of AOL,[6][7][8] and to release 50-55 new, short episode series.[9]

Brian Angiolet, Verizon's senior vice president of consumer products, served as initial head of the service.[10][1] Chip Canter, formerly of NBCUniversal, was brought on as general manager in March 2016, and hired Ivana Kirkbride, formerly of YouTube, as chief content officer. Under Canter, the service's content strategy shifted to one focusing on a wider variety of content in genres that had been performing well, such as gaming, music, sci-fi, sports (including live events), and dramas targeting young women.[11][12][1][13][14] The service also planned to take a more granular approach to content acquisition, and lessen its aggressive focus on primarily targeting mobile platforms.[14]

Under Angiolet's direction as Global Content Chief, Verizon made multiple investments and acquisitions in an effort to bolster go90.[9] In April 2016, Verizon acquired a 24.5% stake in AwesomenessTV, a digital media studio and YouTube MCN targeting youth and teenagers, for around $159 million (valuing AwesomenessTV at $650 million). DreamWorks Animation and Hearst Corporation also owned stakes in the company.[15] Verizon invested $180 million over multiple years for AwesomenessTV to produce content for go90.[16] A joint venture with Hearst, Verizon Hearst Media Partners, also acquired Complex Media in a deal reportedly valuing the company at $250 to $300 million.[17][18][19]

Failed launch, Vessel acquisition[edit]

Despite high expectations from Verizon, go90's first year of operations was unsuccessful; partners reported that their content was drawing a minuscule audience (with most content only receiving view counts within the thousands, although some, such as The Runner, were able to reach at least a million), and that even under Canter's leadership, the service lacked clear content and distribution strategies.[20] Digiday reported via go90 employees that Verizon's executives "were so consumed early on with the idea of providing a large quantity of high-quality content, that they never showed any focus. There was no indication that Verizon actually knew the audience that they were trying to reach."[1] Insiders also noted that not enough internal metadata was provided to categorize go90's videos, which hampered search and discoverability. Verizon hired contractors to manually compose this information in a process only intended to take three months, however, the process took nearly a year to complete.[14] In May 2016, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam admitted that go90 may have been "a little bit overhyped," backpedaling on previous pronouncements and the implications of major business and media investments.[21]

On October 26, 2016, Verizon acquired Vessel, a streaming video startup led by former Hulu executives, Jason Kilar and Richard Tom.[22] The purchase was a talent acquisition, resulting in Vessel being shut down at the end of the month, and its staff re-assigned to work on go90. Kilar departed from the company.[23][24] On January 23, 2017, it was reported that Verizon had laid off 155 go90 employees from its San Jose office, which had been displaced by the acquired Vessel staff. Tom was appointed as chief technology officer of Verizon Digital Entertainment.[25][26] During Verizon's fourth-quarter earnings report the next day, it was revealed that average daily usage of the go90 app was "consistent sequentially at about 30 minutes per viewer." In early February, a Verizon spokesperson told FierceVideo that the service had seen organic growth over the past two months.[27]

In late March 2017, go90 released a significant redesign of its mobile app, which was designed to help improve discovery and content recommendations and prioritize live content (such as sports) within the interface. The redesign also incorporated the "motion poster" concept for advertisement displays that originated from Vessel.[28][29] Chip Canter was replaced as general manager in April 2017 by Tom.[12] The following month, it was reported that go90's app had 2.1 million average monthly users.[30]

Original content[edit]

go90 featured original series, such as Mr. Student Body President, My Dead Ex, The Runner (which was produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon), T@gged, Tween Fest, Street Fighter: Resurrection and Transformers: Prime Wars Trilogy. Its original series were acquired from studios such as CollegeHumor, Funny or Die, Nerdist Industries, Machinima, MTV, and Rooster Teeth Productions, among others.,[31] as well as producers like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon,[32] LeBron James,[33] and Rob Gronkowski (who hosted and executive produced a Shark Tank-like series entitled MVP for two seasons).[34]

In 2017, go90 began a three-year deal with the National Women's Soccer League to stream all games not aired on television.[35]

Original series[edit]

Title Genre Premiere Seasons/Episodes Status
Betch Comedy October 1, 2015 4 season, 42 episodes Ended
Guidance Teen drama October 18, 2015 3 season, 27 episodes Ended
Lizzie Animation January 22, 2016 1 season, 13 episodes Ended
Street Fighter: Resurrection Action March 15, 2016 1 season, 4 episodes Ended
Miss 2059 Science fiction
June 21, 2016 2 season, 24 episodes Ended
The Runner Reality July 1, 2016 1 season, 30 episodes Ended
T@gged Teen drama July 19, 2016 2 season, 23 episodes Moved to Hulu (season 3)
Transformers: Prime Wars Trilogy Science fiction
August 2, 2016 3 season, 28 episodes Ended
Tween Fest Comedy August 3, 2016 1 season, 8 episodes Ended
Rush Drama
September 20, 2016 1 season, 5 episodes Ended
Mr Student Body President Comedy September 22, 2016 4 season, 40 episodes Ended
Sleep Tight Horror October 4, 2016 1 season, 9 episodes Ended
Happy Wheels: The Series Adult animation
November 15, 2016 1 season, 9 episodes Ended
QB1: Beyond the Lights Documentary
February 13, 2017 2 season, 20 episodes Moved to Netflix (season 3)
Tubi (season 4)
Confess Drama April 7, 2017 1 season, 7 episodes Ended
Threads Comedy
July 25, 2017 1 season, 20 episodes Ended
Explosion Jones Adult animation
September 5, 2017 1 season, 12 episodes Ended
Two Sentence Horror Stories Horror
October 3, 2017 1 season, 5 episodes Moved to The CW (season 2-4)
Zac & Mia Drama November 7, 2017 1 season, 12 episodes Moved to Hulu (Season 2)
Love Daily Drama
February 7, 2018 1 season, 7 episodes Ended
My Dead Ex Teen comedy March 20, 2018 1 season, 8 episodes Ended
Ture North Docuseries April 19, 2018 1 season, 15 episodes Ended


Title Genre Previous network Premiere Seasons/Episodes Status
Defining Beauty Reality The Platform March 2, 2016 1 season, 5 episodes Ended


From the onset, Mari Silbey of Light Reading felt that much of go90's library consisted of content that could already be found elsewhere, and contested whether Verizon's planned original content for the service would be compelling enough. In addition, Silbey argued that go90's announced social networking features were not inherently innovative for a video service and that it was "hard to turn social media features into a driving force for popularity."[36] Advertisers had been critical of the service, citing slower user adoption than expected. Warren Zenna of Havas Media felt that the app's user experience was inferior to that of YouTube.[37]

Concerns were also displayed over Verizon's announced intent to not have go90 content count towards its subscribers' data caps, noting the company's stance against net neutrality.[38][39]

The NWSL's streams on go90 faced sustained criticism from sportswriters: The Equalizer felt that the app was buggy and did not have the same wide device support as YouTube, while it was also argued that the relative obscurity of go90, and the inconsistent quality of the game streams, could harm the league's growth.[40][41][42] After repeated technical issues, the league would live-stream several weeks of matches domestically on the NWSL website.[43]


By 2017, as the service faltered, insiders suggested that Verizon had been aggressively overpaying on content deals (describing the company as having made deals "guns blazing"), on the assumed basis that making large content investments would ensure growth.[14]

Verizon subsequently acquired Yahoo!, and merged it with AOL into the subsidiary Oath. Its lead executive Tim Armstrong stated in February 2018 that go90 had been placed within the Oath division, but would likely be wound-down in the future. Armstrong admitted that go90 was a "super ambitious project", but that it was difficult to build its brand, and that its content deals could be better leveraged by Oath's individual properties instead.[44] In March 2018, Oath-owned blog platform Tumblr began to syndicate some of go90's original content internationally—which Digiday considered as being a pilot project for this strategy.[45]

After the more aggressive promotion of its content across AOL and Yahoo properties, go90 had managed to increase its average monthly user count to 17 million. On June 29, 2018, Oath officially announced that go90 would be shuttered on July 31, 2018. The company stated that it would be evaluating the future of go90's original series and that it would "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."[46]

Estimates vary on the losses attributed to the failed service. Digiday cited two sources close to go90 who estimated total spending of $1.2  billion, including the Vessel and OnCue acquisitions.[1] In Verizon's filing for the third quarter of 2018, it cited $913 million in charges related to "product realignment" attributable to shutting down go90.[47] In September 2018, Verizon laid off 50 employees in the Content Operations group managed by Brian Angiolet and eliminated the group. Ivana Kirkbride and Richard Tom were among the departing employees.[48]

At least two of the initiatives launched by Verizon Hearst Media Partners–Seriously.TV and Rated Red–were shuttered in 2017 and 2018 respectively.[49] In 2018, AwesomenessTV was sold to Viacom for $50 million—a fraction of Verizon's $650 million valuation. Digiday reported that the company had depended strongly on content investments by Verizon for around 40% of its revenue, and that there had been animosity within the venture due to its majority partner DreamWorks Animation being acquired by a subsidiary of Comcast—a direct competitor to Verizon. Comcast also did not believe that AwesomenessTV aligned well with its other digital media investments, such as BuzzFeed and Vox Media.[50][16] In June 2021 as part of its upcoming IPO, BuzzFeed announced that it would acquire Complex Media from Verizon Hearst Media Partners.[51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Patel, Sahil (July 2, 2018). "'Never had a chance': Inside Verizon's $1 billion bad bet on Go90". digiday.com. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  2. ^ Scolaro, Christina (January 21, 2014). "Intel sells OnCue TV business to Verizon". CNBC. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  3. ^ Moritz, Scott; King, Ian (January 21, 2014). "Verizon Said to Spend Less Than $200 Million on Intel TV". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  4. ^ "How Verizon's Go90 ended up as a mobile-only video service". CNET. September 15, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  5. ^ Spangler, Todd (September 8, 2015). "Verizon Launches Go90 Free Mobile-Video App to Chew Up Wireless Bandwidth". Variety. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  6. ^ "Verizon's Mobile Video Service Go90 Launches To Public – TechCrunch". TechCrunch. October 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  7. ^ Spangler, Todd (September 8, 2015). "Verizon Launches Go90 Free Mobile-Video App to Chew Up Wireless Bandwidth". Variety. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  8. ^ "Inside Verizon's Plans to Reinvent the TV Ad Model With Go90". Ad Age. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Guerrasio, Jason (November 17, 2015). "Verizon thinks it's created the go-to entertainment app for Millennials — and it might be right". Business Insider. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  10. ^ Guerrasio, Jason (November 17, 2017). "Verizon thinks it's created the go-to entertainment app for Millennials — and it might be right". Business Insider. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Petski, Denise (December 8, 2016). "Verizon Taps Erin McPherson As Head Of Content Strategy & Programming". Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Verizon's Go90 General Manager Chip Canter Out as Vessel Team Takes Over". Variety. April 26, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  13. ^ "Pitch deck: Verizon's plans for Go90 in 2017 and beyond". Digiday. January 27, 2017. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d McAlone, Nathan (March 30, 2017). "Verizon insiders describe the fight to save go90, its video service that has burned more than $200 million trying to catch the eye of millennials". Business Insider. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  15. ^ Spangler, Todd (April 6, 2016). "Verizon to Acquire 24.5% Stake in AwesomenessTV for $159 Million". Variety.com. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Patel, Sahil (August 2, 2018). "Go90 or bust: How AwesomenessTV's fate was tied to Verizon". Digiday. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  17. ^ Knutson, Ryan; Hagey, Keach; Alpert, Lukas I. (April 18, 2016). "Verizon, Hearst Agree to Buy Complex Media; Deal is biggest move so far by joint venture the companies formed last month". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  18. ^ Schliefer, Theodore (October 13, 2017). "Complex is the latest media company to lay off staff amid a pivot to video". Recode. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  19. ^ Flanagan, Andrew (April 19, 2016). "Marc Ecko, Complex Media Co-Founder, on His Company After Verizon and Digital Media in the Facebook Age: Q&A". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  20. ^ "Verizon's Go90 partners start to lose faith, call platform 'absolute' dud, but signs of audience persist". FierceCable. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  21. ^ Sibley, Mari (May 24, 2016). "Verizon Backpedals on Go90". Lightreading.com. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  22. ^ Solsman, Joan E. "Hulu vets launch Vessel, a premium mini YouTube with a price tag". CNET. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  23. ^ Spangler, Todd (October 26, 2016). "Verizon Acquires Vessel, Will Shut Down Jason Kilar's Video Service". Variety. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  24. ^ "Verizon acquires subscription video service Vessel, will shut it down on Oct. 31". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  25. ^ "Verizon Lays Off 155 Employees at Go90 Division (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. January 24, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  26. ^ Evans, Greg (January 24, 2017). "Verizon Axes 155 Go90 Staffers; Streaming Service Targets Millennials". Deadline. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  27. ^ "Go90 'not dead,' had best organic growth in December, Verizon says". FierceVideo. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  28. ^ "YouTube Challenger Vessel Starts Showing Off Its Service, and a Slick New Ad Format". Recode. Vox Media. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  29. ^ "Verizon announces Go90 updates in effort to save cash-burning video platform". FierceCable. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  30. ^ McAlone, Nathan (April 1, 2017). "Verizon has spent at least $200 million on video for its go90 service, which has 2.1 million monthly app users". Business Insider. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  31. ^ Johnson, Jocelyn (April 11, 2016). "Verizon Hires GM of Digital Entertainment and Go90 - Grabs Chip Canter from NBCUniversal - VideoInk". videoink. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  32. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 16, 2016). "Ben Affleck & Matt Damon Reality Series 'The Runner' To Launch On Verizon Go90". deadline.com. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  33. ^ Petski, Denise (January 20, 2016). "Sports Comedy From LeBron James' Uninterrupted Set For Go90". deadline.com. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  34. ^ Emery, Debbie (September 7, 2017). "'MVP' Gets the Super Bowl Treatment as NFL star Rob Gronkowski Returns for Season 2". TheWrap. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  35. ^ "NWSL, go90 announce exclusive streaming partnership". Black and Red United (SBNation). April 13, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  36. ^ Silbey, Mari (October 1, 2015). "Verizon's Go90 Is Live – Will Anyone Watch?". Lightreading.com. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  37. ^ Shield, Mike (August 2, 2016). "Advertisers Say Verizon's go90 Rollout Has Been Rocky". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  38. ^ Epstein, Zach (December 24, 2015). "Verizon Net Neutrality Violation In The Works With Go90 Premium". Boy Genius Report. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  39. ^ Krause, Reinhardt (December 22, 2015). "Verizon Revs Premium Go90, Data Cap Limits Excluded". news.investors.com. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  40. ^ Lee, Allison (April 13, 2017). "Lee: NWSL missed the mark with go90". The Equalizer. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  41. ^ Rollins, Sean (May 15, 2017). "Go90 Deal Puts NWSL and Orlando Pride in Dire Situation". The Maneland (SB Nation). Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  42. ^ Smith, Chad C (May 1, 2017). "The NWSL's go90 Deal Could Be Hurting the League". The Blue Testament (SB Nation). Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  43. ^ Balf, Celia (May 19, 2017). "NWSL: For the next few weeks games will be live streamed on website and the league's app". Excelle Sports. Archived from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  44. ^ Roettgers, Janko (February 13, 2018). "Oath CEO Tim Armstrong Casts Doubt on Future of Go90". Variety. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  45. ^ "With Go90 flatlining, Verizon sees Tumblr as home to original digital video programs". Digiday. April 20, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  46. ^ Spangler, Todd (June 28, 2018). "Verizon Is Shutting Down Go90, Its Ill-Fated Mobile Video Service". Variety. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  47. ^ Spangler, Todd (July 24, 2018). "Verizon Takes $900 Million Hit Against Q2 Earnings for Go90 Shutdown, Other Charges". Variety. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  48. ^ Johnson, Jocelyn (September 12, 2018). "Verizon Lays Off 50 in Video Business Consolidation". The Wrap. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  49. ^ Guaglione, Sara (August 21, 2018). "Hearst, Verizon Shutter Rated Red, Conservative Video Brand". MediaPost. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  50. ^ Spangler, Todd (February 14, 2017). "Verizon, AwesomenessTV Fold Premium-Content Venture, Samie Kim Falvey Out (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  51. ^ Flynn, Kerry (June 24, 2021). "BuzzFeed announces plan to go public and acquire Complex Networks". CNN. Retrieved December 7, 2021.