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Verizon taps millennial passions

News, 29 February 2016

NEW YORK: Verizon, the communications group, is tapping into three millennial passion points – smartphones, streaming video and social media – as it seeks to reach this audience with its ad-funded go90 app.

Lowell McAdam, Verizon's CEO, discussed this product, which was released in October 2015, at Business Insider's IGNITION 2015 conference in New York City.

More specifically, go90 contains a mixture of content from leading broadcasters like Comedy Central, Discovery, ESPN and the Food Network, alongside exclusive material from popular YouTube content-creators, such as AwesomenessTV.

And go90, which is named after the habit of flipping a phone from portrait to landscape view when watching video, is free to download and use, as advertising – rather than subscriptions – will be the primary source of revenue.

"We had a strategy, in this case, where we wanted to create a media company to deal with the digital millennials that are out there," said McAdam. (For more, including details of how this product will generate invaluable consumer insights, read Warc's exclusive report: go90: Verizon's mobile-first millennial play.)

"So go90, right out of the gate, will have certain things that are exclusive to Verizon, but you can download it if you're a Sprint customer or T-Mobile customer, and they're doing that.

"Things like the AwesomenessTV exclusive content: my view is you premiere it on Verizon, but then you quickly distribute it, even globally."

Another point of differentiation for go90 is its interactive features, which include the opportunity to "follow" friends, channels and celebrities, as well as creating and joining discussion groups called "crews".

Perhaps the most distinctive tool, however, is the ability to extract quick snippets from video content on the app, and then spread them via Facebook, Twitter, email or SMS.

"One of the things I say is: it's a social-video network, so that if you're watching an NBA game and you want to literally go in and clip that footage out and send that to your social network, you can do that," McAdam said.

"We're trying to skate to where the puck is going and it's not in a declining linear play – it's in digital, snackable, mobile-based content."

Data sourced from Warc