Beginning Tuesday, Verizon is sending out invitations for a private beta of its long-awaited Go90 over-the-top video service. A spokesperson for the telco confirmed the start of the beta trial, adding that the company will "gear up for launch later this month."
Other details on Go90 are also emerging, including Verizon's branding of the free, ad-supported service as "a mobile-first social entertainment platform." The social element refers to several sharing functions that are bundled into the service including "Cut and Share," a feature that sounds remarkably similar to "Clip+Sling," which Sling Media Inc. announced for the Slingbox back in 2007, but never launched. According to Verizon, Cut and Share will let users "easily cut and share particular segments of a show."
Other Go90 features confirmed by Verizon include "Crews" for chatting on the Go90 platform, "Share out" for connecting with viewers on other platforms like Facebook and Twitter, "Follow" for tracking favorite shows and "Crowdsource" for tapping into content recommendations from the Go90 community.
The video line-up for Go90 is a collage of content: live concerts and sports match-ups (including college football and basketball games) mixed in with cable shows like The Daily Show and HBO's The Leftovers along with web-based content from recently acquired AOL and networks like AwesomenessTV and Maker Studios. Verizon notes that Go90 will include content from 15 of the 30 most-watched cable networks and nine of the top 15 multichannel networks.
It's worth reiterating that Verizon's new OTT service is built on a well-established platform of video technologies including Verizon's own content delivery network and video processing applications developed within the Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS) business. Go90 will also make good use of Verizon's recent acquisition of AOL not only for that company's content, but also for its advertising technology. (See Verizon Builds Toward OTT Launch .)
It's still unknown exactly how Verizon will make use of LTE multicast technology for the Go90 service, or how the company will implement sponsored data as a way of subsidizing bandwidth costs. Verizon has previously said it will use both strategies for OTT video delivery.
In addition to Verizon, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) also has its own OTT video service in the works called Watchable. Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) launched its web-based Sling TV service in January, and several programmers now offer online streaming services, including Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) and Showtime Networks Inc. (See Dish Slings OTT Service – What It Means.)
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading