Verizon content play hit by Yahoo delay, go90 layoffs - Mobile World Live

Verizon content play hit by Yahoo delay, go90 layoffs

24 JAN 2017

Verizon’s content and advertising strategy took a double hit, with news its planned Yahoo deal is likely to be delayed joined by reports of job cuts in its go90 video streaming app team.

Sources told entertainment industry title Variety the operator laid-off 155 staff working on go90 as part of a revamp of the product. A new version will be produced by the team from Vessel, a video streaming company Verizon acquired in October 2016.

The launch of go90 in October 2015 was considered a key part of the company’s diversification strategy to enter the content and advertising markets.

Although Verizon maintains the job cuts are not a signal of a change in direction, reports suggest the app struggled to gain traction. The Wall Street Journal reported in August 2016 that advertisers were unhappy with the viewing figures, and a month later EVP Marni Walden admitted some content had “not done as well” and the company was “still learning”.

In a statement to Variety, Verizon confirmed staffing changes and office consolidation had taken place, but maintained the measures were “not indicative to a change in our strategy” and it remained “committed to rapidly enhancing our existing online video products and delivering new products.”

Content problems
The apparent problems with the go90 app add to broader woes affecting Verizon’s content and advertising strategy.

Speaking to investors in January, Walden said the company’s plans for targeted advertising using its AOL platform had been held up by privacy concerns. The EVP also said she was unable to confirm if a planned $4.83 billion acquisition of Yahoo would go ahead.

News of the go90 layoffs broke a day after Yahoo announced in its Q4 earnings statement the Verizon deal is still on, but completion of the sale would likely be delayed until Q2.

In recent months, Verizon executives have been unwilling to commit to to guaranteeing the deal will happen, citing ongoing investigations into high-profile security breaches at Yahoo. The operator also reportedly demanded a discount on the original buying price.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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