Verizon continues to move deliberately into digital media, but the company has no plans to offer a massive video service like AT&T’s DirecTV Now, CEO Lowell McAdam said this morning.
The nation’s largest wireless carrier is looking to build a media empire through a series of acquisitions. Last year it bought AOL for $4.4 billion. McAdam said he was optimistic that the deal to acquire Yahoo will eventually go through (although the future of that agreement is still uncertain following the major hack of Yahoo’s customer information). Meanwhile, Verizon recently bought the web-video startup Vessel for an undisclosed sum, and it continues to pursue Go90, an OTT video offering aimed at young mobile users.
That strategy stands in marked contrast to DirecTV Now, which AT&T launched last week with a lineup of big-name content providers with traditional TV offerings.
“I think AT&T is certainly going to push the envelope here,” McAdam said this morning at an investors conference. “We’re a bit more bullish on digital media because the millennials don’t seem to be buying the 300-channel bundles. They seem to be much more mobile, much more internet-oriented, and that’s’ why we’re going the rout of Complex Media and AwesomenessTV and RatedRed and some of the other content that we’ve gone through, then putting it on Go90 as the mobile screen rather than the big screen of the house.”
Mobile video consumption is clearly on the rise, but it still isn’t clear that Verizon – or any other carrier – can monetize that trend directly via either a premium offering or advertising. McAdam conceded that Go90 has yet to catch fire among customers, but he said he’s pleased with the incremental growth in viewership.
“Go90, there was an awful lot of hype on this early on, but we knew that this was going to be what we call patient money,” he said. “Over the last quarter we announced viewership was up to 30 minutes per month, now that doesn’t sound like a lot but people are coming back and they’re doing it for two or three minutes at a time. That gives us a chance to put our other monetization efforts into play such as the advertisers that we mentioned, such as AOL. So we’re building slowly, we’re happy with the build and we continue to invest in that unique content.”