Verizon Boots Up ‘go90’ Trial

Issues Private Invites for Mobile-First Service (Updated)
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Ahead of a broad consumer rollout, Verizon Communications confirmed Tuesday that it has launched a private, invitation-only trial to go90, its new “mobile-first” service targeted primarily at coveted, but hard-to-reach millennial audiences.

Go90, a free, ad-supported service (Verizon has not announced plans to offer a subscription-based version), will let users view video, including live and on-demand streams, anywhere in the U.S. The service will initially by compatible with iOS and  Android-powered mobile devices, an official said via email.

Verizon is also playing up the social aspects of the service, noting that go90 will use features such as “Cut & Share; “Crews” (chat about and share content with other fans); connect via SMC, Facebook Twitter, and email; offer a “Follow” component that lets users track their favorite shows; and “Crowdsource” (recommendations from the go90 community).

The content lineup will include live games from the NCAA (football and basketball), international soccer, and live performances. Other featured content partners include cable channels and online channels such as ESPN, Adult Swim, Comedy Central, VH1, Nickelodeon, MTV, Spike, Food Network, TLC, Discovery Network, NFL Network, HGTV, BET, Investigation Discovery, AwesomenessTV, Collective Digital Studio, Defy, Vice, Maker Studios, Machinima, Fullscreen, StyleHaul, and Tastemade. Verizon is also trying to finalize a distribution deal with FXX.

Update: Whistle Sports Network said it will also offer content via go90. 

Specific shows offered on the platform will include The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, ESPN’s 30 for 30, VH1’s  Love and Hip Hop, Discovery’s Gold Rush, and HBO’s  The Leftovers.

Go90 could become available to all users before the end of this month, Verizon told Reuters, which reported that the new service will not initially use ad-tech from AOL, the company  Verizon acquired in June for $4.4 billion.

Comcast is also developing a similar OTT offering for millennials and younger audience called Watchable that will be offered on its X1 video platform and on mobile devices. AT&T, which recently acquired DirecTV, is also expected to amp up its online video offerings through its Otter Media joint venture with The Chernin Group.