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How Verizon is zeroing in on Gen Z

Armed with a new minority stake in AwesomenessTV to boost its go90 SVOD service, Verizon is solidifying its belief in Gen Z.
June 27, 2016

For a new mobile-first, but not mobile-only video service competing with the likes of YouTube and Facebook, go90 has wasted no time in reaching a younger user base with an offering of exclusive, short-form snackable content, both original and licensed.

Since launching in September 2015, the free, ad-supported social entertainment platform from US telecom giant Verizon has brought Disney-owned Maker Studios, digital producer DanceOn and DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV on-board to provide original, scripted and unscripted content focused on high-profile, digital-native media brands and personalities.

Although go90 also caters to millennials with a live programming schedule, featuring college football, exclusive NFL games, concert streams and traditional TV, the platform’s latest deliveries to Gen Z are particularly on-trend. It’s a strategy that should help Verizon move past its previous unsuccessful attempts in the streaming biz with its online VOD service, Redbox Instant, and mobile video service, Verizon Video.

According to Verizon SVP of consumer products and marketing Brian Angiolet, the company’s deeper commitment to Gen Z now is expected to set go90 up for the future.

“Our strategy is focused on the disruption that is occurring in digital media and content distribution, so we’re capitalizing on the emergence of these strong media brands that can reach millennials and Gen Z,” says Angiolet.

Although Verizon has yet to disclose go90′s total downloads and subscriber numbers, the app was ranked 48th and 615th in the respective entertainment and overall categories for iPhone apps in the US on May 17, according to mobile tracking service App Annie. It reached its highest-ever iPhone ranking in the US on April 2, when it hit fourth in entertainment and 69th overall.

Despite an uneven ride on the app charts, Angiolet says the company is extremely encouraged by the audiences it’s seen for the suite of genres offered by go90. “It’s been very positive. go90 is a new platform so there is going to be a progression and evolution for us over the next two to three years.”

According to Angiolet, some of go90′s best performers for tweens and teens are currently a pair of AwesomenessTV programs—Guidance starring popular YouTube vlogger Amanda Steele and Michelle Trachtenberg (Gossip Girl), and sketch comedy show Betch—as well as DanceOn competition series Dance-Off Juniors (pictured), which debuted April 20.

As for new Maker Studios content on go90, Marvel and Maker Studios’ first co-pro, Marvel’s Off the Rack, launched April 13 with 12 eps rolling out once a week until the end of June.

Now that Verizon has a 24.5% stake in AwesomenessTV, the brand will launch a new transactional VOD service featuring premium short-form dramas and comedies for teens within the go90 app.

“The service will initially be exclusive to Verizon platforms in the US, while AwesomenessTV will retain the right to sell content in the rest of the world,” says Angiolet.

AwesomenessTV previously signed a multi-year deal with Verizon in April 2015 to provide go90 with 200 hours of content. Shows yet to air include Prank School with Rahat, Minecraft series Fantasy Quest, an untitled project starring America’s Best Dance Crew winners The Jabbawockeez, plus more than 100 hours of video from upcoming live Maker-focused fan events.

Angiolet says go90 wants to produce more premium scripted dramas and comedies, especially highly serialized ones. As for the possibility of any DreamWorks Animation content landing on go90, Angiolet would not comment.

Coming up this summer, go90 will broaden its distribution, strengthen its content development, and simplify its purchasing features when it expands across Verizon-owned AOL platforms.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at



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