Verizon is reportedly preparing the launch of a nationwide online TV service to run separately from its go90 and FiOS TV platforms, and further ramp up competition with AT&T’s DirecTV Now proposition.
According to Bloomberg sources, the telecoms giant has been securing streaming rights from network television companies to launch a YouTube like streaming video service aimed at teenagers, and plans to sell the package this summer.
Verizon is seemingly tapping into a market demanding cheaper and smaller TV packages, with cable provider Dish launching a similar service – Sling TV – as well as AT&T’s DirecTV Now, which was introduced in November 2016.
The make-up of Verizon’s service is still unclear. It could run on an app and be accessible through a set top box like Dish and AT&T’s offering. Sources said it will be priced at approximately $35, the same price as DirecTV Now.
While the move increases competition with traditional rival AT&T and pay-TV providers, it also pits Verizon against companies like YouTube and Hulu in the US. Bloomberg said Verizon is already negotiating new contracts for streaming rights for its existing FiOS service.
However, FiOS is lagging behind competitors like Comcast and AT&T, with 4.7 million subscribers.
All indications suggest the new platform would run alongside FiOS and go90, the company’s video streaming app launched in 2015.
Meanwhile in a statement, Verizon announced it launched “significant updates” for its go90 app and web experiences.
The go90 “3.0” update was developed by Verizon’s Digital Entertainment Engineering and Operations team (formerly known as Vessel), a video streaming company Verizon acquired in October 2016.
Verizon announced plans to roll out a revamp of the product at the start of the year, as well as a move to cut 155 staff working on the product. The measure led to speculation about the direction of go90, following reports it was struggling to gain user traction.
Through the update, the company said users will now benefit from an improved user interface and a discovery approach, and it also improved search functions with smarter recommendations.
For advertisers, the company updated its format to a more immersive video display, in a bid to drive engagement.
“We’ve completed a pivotal step across the aesthetic and technical, putting go90 in a position for faster future development and deployment,” claimed Chip Canter, general manager, Verizon digital entertainment.