Verizon reportedly spending $80M to market Go90 video service at launch, but app falls in App Store rankings

Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) Go90 mobile video application launched late last week and is reportedly being abetted by an $80 million marketing campaign to get the word out and drum up users, especially among its prized millennial demographic. However, Go90 dropped in app-tracking company App Annie's rankings of apps in Apple's App Store after its debut.

According to the New York Post, which cited unnamed sources, the marketing blitz is designed to help Go90 stand out from a crowded field of video competitors, including Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Hulu and Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) YouTube. The thinking is that Verizon and its partners have no choice but to market Go90 to the hilt in the hopes of achieving a critical mass of users that will help support its advertising-funded business model.

"Verizon has a tough row ahead of it," said David Morgan, chief executive of Simulmedia. "They are competing for a finite amount of audience attention and dollars-entrenched incumbents in linear TV, streaming networks like Netflix and Hulu that have already achieved a certain amount of scale -- not to mention a dangerous competitor in Amazon that is happy to give original video content away for free to get Prime delivery members."

A Verizon spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Go90 marketing campaign was in full effect at least in the Washington, D.C., Metro rail system, where the Chinatown station was plastered with Go90 billboards and signage.

The ad-supported Go90 app launched Oct. 1 on iOS and Android to customers of all carriers, offering users 8,000 titles and over 35 exclusive original series. Verizon said that catalog includes 15 of the 30 most-viewed network shows and nine of the 15 most-viewed shows on the web. Go90 aims to offer a mix of content from traditional TV networks alongside online video from the likes of AwesomenessTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, ESPN, NFL Network, One World Sports, Discovery, VH1, MTV, SPIKE, TLC, Adult Swim, HGTV, BET, Investigation Discovery, New Form Digital and others,TechCrunch noted.

Users can share and comment on clips of Go90 content they edit themselves. This video can be shared in groups called "crews," where social media friends can discuss shared video.

Go90 has already received over $50 million in ad commitments, according to Advertising Age, which includes an upfront deal with Publicis Groupe.

It's unclear though how much traction Go90 is getting yet. According to App Annie, as of Monday morning Go90 was ranked as the No. 56 app in the "entertainment" category in Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) U.S. App Store after debuting at No. 14. The app has an average rating of 3.7 out of 5 in the App Store.

In Google's Play Store, the Go90 app is ranked No. 14 in the "Media and Video" applications category, down from No. 9, and also No. 37 among all "top free new" applications. The app has been installed 10,000 and 50,000 times via Google Play and has an average rating of 3.8 out of 5.

For more:
- see this New York Post article
- see this TechTimes article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Forbes article 

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