Verizon Retools go90

New ‘3.0’ version developed by team formed from Verizon's Vessel acquisition
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Looking to put a charge into its troubled ad-based go90 service, Verizon announced this week that it has launched a new, redesigned version of the mobile-first platform that includes improved discovery, programming and advertising capabilities.

The “3.0” version of go90 was built by a new San Francisco-based Verizon Digital Entertainment Engineering & Operations team that was created from Verizon’s acquisition last year of Vessel, Chip Canter, GM of Verizon Digital Entertainment, explained in this blog item posted Wednesday. Vessel was the YouTube-like competitor started up by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar.

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“This update enhances content discovery, programming and merchandising through design, deeper and broader algorithmic search & recommendation and experience,” Canter wrote, adding that the updates are being rolled out to all go90 users on iOS and Android devices over the next couple of days.

The redesign/update comes after go90 laid off about 150 employees and reports that the service was being retooled. Verizon launched go90 OTT service in the fall of 2015, and reportedly struggled to catch onwith the younger audiences in a meaningful way. Business Insider reported this week on the issues with the original version of the service, which was in part hampered by a system that made it tough for users to search for and find videos because content was not tagged properly. Canter hinted to the publication that go90 won't forever be slotted as a mobile-only offering. 

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In the blog post, Canter noted that the update also establishes firmer tech ties between go90 and Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS), Verizon’s cloud video unit, and the AOL Advertising stack.

On the content side, the new go90 is offering  “audience-specific networks” driven by data and audience response. Those initial curated offerings include go90 Saga (Sci-fi, horror, gaming), go90 Session (Music, style, art and information), go90 XO (Fierce, fresh, fearless dramas) and go90 Zone (Live sports, commentary and comedy).

The new UI will also feature a section that highlights NFL Mobile, soccer and NBA live sports.

For advertisers, the revamped OTT offering will also include “motion posters,” or MoPos, that present richer, video ad displays that are teamed with targeting data.

For content partners, go90 said it will boost their presence through enhancements such as new partner wordmarks, verified accounts and dedicated series landing pages.