Verizon Communications is to launch a trial of a new, advertising-funded mobile video app called Go90 as soon as today (8 September), although initially it will not involve expensively acquired mobile ad technology from AOL.
According to media reports, the free service will target teens and millennials with exclusive content from online video services such as AwesomenessTV and Vice, which users can share via social media. It will be paid for by advertising.
The operator recently acquired AOL for $4.4 billion but is still integrating its web and mobile ad targeting technology with Verizon’s video services, according to Brian Angiolet, SVP, consumer products. Angiolet was speaking with Reuters.
Adding further to its video portfolio, the operator last week acquired Millennial Media, another mobile ad firm.
Once integration is complete then targeted advertising tools will be available “over time”, said the Verizon exec.
Go90 will launch to all users as soon as later this month, but will run up against some heavyweight competitors in the shape of YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Dish Network’s Sling TV and a horde of other rivals.
According to Wired, one explanation for launching a video service into a crowded marketplace is it’s a loss leader that can draw subscribers to other Verizon services. Younger users might persuade their parents to stick with the operator’s mobile and fixed services, hence justifying Go90’s launch.
Alternatively, the video service is essentially a testing, and proving, ground for Verizon’s expensively assembled ad technology. It will hope to show advertisers how effectively it can target particular groups of users.
Supposedly, the operator’s earlier plan involved a subscription-based model, but in recent months it has changed strategy in favour of one funded with advertising revenue.