Verizon's Go90 mobile video service loses top exec
Chip Canter is out as general manager of Verizon’s Go90 mobile video service that’s struggling to reach its target audience of millennials, according to a report in VideoInk. The former NBCUniversal executive joined Verizon last spring to take charge of the content and distribution strategy for Verizon’s mobile entertainment application.
Richard Tom, co-founder of internet video startup Vessel, is taking Canter’s place. Verizon bought Vessel for an undisclosed sum and closed it down in October. Jason Kilar, the former chief executive of Hulu who co-founded Vessel, left as the Verizon takeover closed.
Canter’s exit comes three months after Verizon cut Go90 staff, most of them in San Jose, Calif., and started rebuilding the service with people from Vessel.
It’s too early to tell how managerial shuffles will affect a fledgling video service supported by a billion-dollar telecom and media company. Verizon’s Go90 struggles are one indication that mobile video isn’t ready for a mass audience, even if it’s free like broadcast television.
Televised content is hit-driven and can take years to build a loyal audience among a crowded field that includes NetFlix, Amazon, YouTube and possibly social media giants like Facebook. At least Verizon has a phone, internet and cable TV business to support its ambitions in original programming.
Verizon did all the right things by investing in original content that has the same production values as many broadcast and cable series. But the quality of the programming loses meaning if the audience has to squint at a mobile phone to see it and wear headphones to hear it privately. Does any media company really want to provide the same viewing experience as an in-flight movie?
App usage is concentrated in social media, internet search and apps like maps and messaging, even as mobile usage has grown about 10% since last year, according to eMarketer.