Verizon Wireless' (NYSE: VZ) forthcoming over-the-the-top mobile video service will be called "Go90" and will offer users both full episodes of TV shows from certain networks as well as music videos and other shorter pieces of content, according to a Variety report. The report, citing information from a pre-launch website for the service that was live but has since been taken down, said that initially the service will be entirely free of charge.
According to the report, while Go90's iOS and Android apps are going to be free to download from the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) App Store and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Play store, at least some of the content will be exclusive for Verizon's wireless subscribers.
Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo confirmed last week that the OTT video product will be launched in "late summer," which technically could come as late as the third week of September. Shammo and other Verizon executives have discussed a variety of business models the carrier may employ for the service, and the company has announced some content deals, but Variety's report adds more details to the service that Verizon has been largely mum about, including the service's brand name and pricing.
The website stated that Go90 will deliver "live music, exclusive events, best of web content, sports, prime time and more." Users will be able to watch "full length shows and short highlights, all for free," the site said.
An "About" section stated: "We didn't want to mimic TV--that's just an appliance you rearrange your living room around. Instead, we wanted to create a mobile-first, video-based app that can keep up with you and your on-the-go social life. One that features completely immersive live and on-demand content, no matter where you are or where you're going. No cord required."
Earlier this month Verizon announced that it signed a multi-year deal with Vice Media to bring Vice's content to the service. Verizon has also pledged to offer 200 hours of original programming from YouTube video specialist AwesomenessTV, sports programming from ESPN and CBS Sports, and made-for-cable reality series from Scripps Interactive Networks.
According to the Variety report, the Verizon website also listed other as-yet unannounced content partners, including Victorious, GoPro and Vevo, and screenshots of the Go90 app published on the site indicated that the service will also have content from Fox and AMC. Go90 will also include content from Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV via a partnership with Viacom, the report said. There were also references to NFL content, for which Verizon owns the mobile right, the report noted.
A Verizon spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, a Verizon spokesperson told Variety said that the content listing on the site was inaccurate but declined to comment further.
Verizon has not revealed the brand name of the service. However, according to Variety, in May Verizon used a shell company called 2342 Holdings LLC to register four trademarks for Go90 and also used that same company to register the domain Go90app.com.
Shammo said last week that at launch Verizon will not have the full range of content, or "everything that we contemplate within the product set" for the video service, but it will be "an initial launch and as the year goes on it will progress." Shammo also noted that AOL content will be part of the offering thanks to Verizon's $4.4 billion deal to buy AOL, including content from the Huffington Post and TechCrunch.
"This is a lineup that is really around all live-type news clips and sports and events, so very different than what anyone else is bringing to the marketplace," Shammo said, according to a Verizon transcript of his remarks.
Shammo told Reuters last week that the video service will have advertising-supported content and will include some free sponsored content. "A sponsored data model down the road... that will generate the usage and the eyeballs that are very appealing to advertisers," Shammo added.
That fits with what Verizon executives have said before. "Ad-sponsored data is part of the product offering," Marni Walden, EVP and president of products and new business innovation at Verizon, said in June during a conference call with the media to discuss the completion of Verizon's AOL deal.
- see this Variety article
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