Verizon Wireless' (NYSE: VZ) Go90 over-the-top mobile video service wasn't a mobile-only service at the start of its life, but Verizon knew that's where it needed to focus its energy, according to Marni Walden, the company's EVP and president of product innovation and new business. Verizon also figured out along the way that if the carrier wanted to achieve massive mobile adoption across different operators, the service couldn't have the Verizon brand associated with it.
Those were some of the tidbits Walden shared in an interview with CNET at last week's CTIA Super Mobility conference, where Walden disclosed that Verizon sent out private invitations for Go90 to 5 million of its customers, mainly millennials, ahead of a wider public launch of the service later this month.
Verizon has assembled numerous pieces to make Go90 a viable product, including its December 2013 deal in which Verizon Digital Media Services agreed to buy a content delivery network, EdgeCast Networks. However, it was the January 2014 deal to buy the OnCue interactive TV platform from Intel that served as the true foundation. OnCue was designed as an Internet-based TV service with bundles of online channels subscribers would buy for $60 to $100 per month. Verizon quickly decided that wouldn't work.
"When you looked at business model, it was just really hard to see how you were going to make that work," Walden said.
Walden said the OnCue team pushed back against the idea of going mobile-first, but that focus-group testing revealed that consumers wanted such a video service, and by the summer of 2014 the idea was in motion. Indeed, according to CNET, Verizon leaned heavily on focus groups as it shaped Go90 into the service it is today, using its learnings from the focus groups to emphasize the ability to share clips or even parts of clips on various social media platforms.
"We would watch people consume content and the very next thing they wanted to do was to have somebody sitting next to them watch it as well," Walden said. "We didn't know how big that was going to be in building the product."
Verizon aims to use targeted advertising, via technology it acquired from AOL, to underpin the business model of Go90. Therefore, in order to get a wider audience and make the service more lucrative to potential advertisers, Verizon knew it had to open it up to other carriers. "In order to drive that business model, you need as many eyeballs on the product as you can," Walden said.
Verizon is not putting its logo or using its colors in the service or app, according to the report, and when the company advertises Go90, the commercials won't even feature the Verizon name.
The carrier plans to use sponsored data in Go90, with video ads that won't eat into users' mobile data plans. Walden also hinted at more creative ways to deliver short mobile video ads, the report added.
- see this CNET article
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