The idea of an “online” TV package, delivered over the internet to your smart TV, phone, laptop, and so on, has caught fire recently. Companies from Dish (with Sling TV) to AT&T (with DirecTV Now) to YouTube have entered the market. Hulu has a product ready to launch, and Amazon is even rumored to be working on one.
Most of these online TV packages feature “skinny” bundles of traditional channels, with entry-level pricing from $20-$40, in an attempt to lure younger people into the pay TV ecosystem, and to get back those who have dropped their $100-plus cable packages. Verizon’s streaming service will have “dozens of channels” and be similarly priced to current offerings, according to Bloomberg.
Verizon’s new service will be separate from its millennial-focused video app go90, launched in late 2015, which spent $200 million on video content in 2016, but has struggled to attract a massive audience. On Wednesday, go90 released a complete reboot of its tech platform, which had plagued the service since launch. Go90’s tech platform was overhauled by the team from Vessel, a video startup Verizon acquired in October that was widely praised for its tech.
In a recent interview with Business Insider, go90 GM Chip Canter described the new go90 tech platform as the basis for launching a suite of video offerings down the line, once Verizon had nailed the interface.
“Go90 is the first thing we got out to market,” Canter said. But the goal for Verizon is to “expand the portfolio and add additional models.” It’s unclear whether the tech or team from Vessel will power Verizon’s new streaming TV service, but Canter’s earlier comments suggest it could at least form the basis for it. Verizon declined to comment.
A big weakness of the online TV services so far, especially for DirecTV Now and Sling TV, has been the tech, which has caused spotty functionality and frustration for many customers.
AT&T has said that part of the reason it is betting big on DirecTV Now, its streaming TV service, is that the company envisions a future where 5G unlocks the ability to have a TV plan delivered entirely over wireless data. That would make AT&T a one-stop shop. Verizon likely has similar ambitions.