Last month, Verizon entered the war over streaming video with its own app called Go90, which is aimed squarely at millennials. Verizon's goal is to grab the attention of users who live in a cable-free world full of Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube.
But unlike many streaming services, especially those available on your phone, Go90 is free and will get its revenue from data usage and advertising.
But there is one point where Verizon is clearly trying to imitate Netflix’s recent success: original content. While “Verizon” probably isn’t the name you think of when you picture quality original programming, the company hopes to change that with a whirlwind of cash.
Verizon says it will have 52 original series on Go90 by the end of this year, according to Bloomberg. These series will be more focused on short-form than Netflix’s offerings. But that type of production still costs serious dollars, and Bloomberg reports that among the big media companies crashing into the streaming space, Verizon seems to be investing the most money.
Netflix’s top executives have repeatedly said they believe “exclusivity” is the key to the company's future, and that original content is a better long-term bet than licensing. This is consistent with Netflix's open admiration of HBO and its business model. Verizon seems to have taken this lesson to heart.
But a heavy investment in short-form content, like the type Verizon is making, is a slightly different strategy than the expansive series HBO is known for. YouTube is also diving further into this space with the launch of its ad-free subscription service YouTube Red, which will include premium content. And Verizon and YouTube's strategies seem aimed as much at places like Snapchat as they do at Netflix.
And the big question is whether high-quality short content will actually prove to be as compelling as its long-form relatives, and succeed in luring viewers away from other services.