In January of 2014, Verizon purchased OnCue from Intel, the company's never-released media streaming service. In the wake of the failure of their partnership with Redbox for Instant Streaming, Verizon has decided to go solo.
Their new service, based on OnCue, is called Go90, and will take a different approach from Redbox. Rather than charging a monthly service fee, the service will go YouTube style - ad-supported. The service will be available to users on any carrier on smartphones and tablets, and will combine live programming, like football games, and short clips, in the vein of YouTube. They are using the term "social entertainment" indicating their hopes of spreading the service without much marketing.
The company has sent out invites to VZW customers it has identified to be part of its target demographic: millennials (30ish and younger). They are hoping that by targeting millennials and offering the service for free that they will be able to carve out a niche in the ever-growing "over the top" television market. With services like Netflix, Hulu and amazon currently ruling the roost, someone trying something different was inevitable. What wasn't expected was that the creativity would come from Verizon.
This is, however, coming from a company that is in the midst of a culture change. Changing their logo, purchasing AOL and doing away with wireless contracts seem to be just the beginning of a major change from one of the largest telecoms in the world. The biggest change comes in the form of this platform, though. There will be no Verizon branding in the applications, including on non-VZW devices. A year ago, no one would have expected Verizon to do anything cross-network, let alone do it without turning it into an advertisement.
Have you received an invite to try out the platform? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.