Verizon spent $200 million last year on programming for its millennial-focused video service go90, according to a former member of the go90 team with knowledge of the matter.
Multiple other former go90 employees confirmed that this number sounded accurate, based on their knowledge. Verizon declined to comment on the figure. That figure doesn’t include the $80 million marketing push reported by The New York Post.
Go90, which was conceived as an ad-supported cross between YouTube and Netflix that would broadly appeal to young people, has struggled since its debut in October 2015.
In preparation for go90’s debut, Verizon made big content deals with little oversight, often for slates of shows over multiple years, according to multiple go90 insiders interviewed by Business Insider. The initial wave of content, however, didn’t get the type of massive audience go90 was hoping for.
Since that time, the hiring of a trio of execs with deep experience in online video has brought more discipline to the go90 process. Go90 is more narrowly targeting audience segments based on what has worked in the last year and half, go90 GM Chip Canter told Business Insider in a recent interview. That includes live sports; sci-fi and gaming; music; and dramas primarily focused on young women.
But still, at 2.1 million monthly active users in the US in February — according to the app-analytics firm App Annie — go90 hasn’t gotten the user numbers that would make its ad-supported model a big moneymaker for Verizon.
One piece that has hampered go90 since launch has been the tech platform. Put simply: It’s been really hard to navigate the go90 app and discover new videos beyond the ones prominently featured.
On Wednesday night, Verizon made a sweeping attempt to fix this by releasing a total overhaul of the tech platform. This new version was built by a team from Verizon-acquired Vessel, after Verizon fired over 150 people from go90 in January, mostly those working on the tech.
If you want to read more about Verizon’s experience with go90, and the fight to save it, see our feature on it published Thursday.