Go90 ‘not dead,’ had best organic growth in December, Verizon says

Verizon's Rizzo defended the growth of its Go90 streaming video platform. Image: Verizon

Verizon disputed an analyst’s recent claims that its mobile video service Go90 is a “dead” platform with little or no usage.

“December was our best month in terms of organic growth on Go90, and January just eclipsed that. Does that sound like “pretty much dead” to you?” Verizon spokesman Jerry Rizzo said to FierceOnlineVideo. 

Rizzo was responding made earlier this week in the same forum by Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn, who said usage of Go90 is so low right now that it “almost doesn’t exist.”

RELATED: Verizon’s Go90 ‘almost doesn’t exist at this point,’ analyst says

Rizzo didn’t release any specific data on the platform, however, citing company policy.

Go90’s usage level has come under debate as Verizon seeks to spark growth in the platform. Last week, the nation's biggest wireless carrier revealed plans to lay off 155 members of the Go90 technical team, replacing them with engineering assets acquired last year in the purchase of Vessel, former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar’s online video startup. 

Further, Verizon made a number of notable hires on the content development and acquisition side last year, starting with former NBCUniversal distribution executive Chip Canter, who it brought in as general manager of digital media. 

Speaking at Verizon’s fourth-quarter earnings call last week, CFO Matt Ellis also delivered a vague, non-specific outline of Go90’s progress.

“With a focus on delivering timely, short-form versions of video clips we have seen digital video consumption gain traction in the last year,” he said. “At the content and solutions layer of our three-tier strategy, the combination of AOL, Go90 and other content has enabled cross-platform sharing. This strategy expands our distribution and revenue opportunity globally across carriers and networks.

“We have seen increased usage in the Go90 application through this exchange and we are expanding our unique content offerings,” Ellis added. “The average daily usage in Go90 was consistent sequentially at about 30 minutes per viewer, with less than 20% of traffic surfed on the Verizon wireless network in the second half of the year.”

Added Rizzo: “We are delivering more than 30,000 hours of originals, live sports from the top leagues and best-of-primetime content this year, making investments in discovery by enhancing our platform with the Vessel team, and have brought in some of the brightest minds in technology and digital entertainment in the last six months … And don’t forget to watch Super Bowl LI on Go90 for free this Sunday.”