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Verizon (VZ) on Track to Merge Go90 Under Oath Brands


U.S. telecom behemoth, Verizon Communications Inc VZ is reportedly merging its video streaming service, Go 90, into other digital platforms.

The company confirms no changes in the overall content strategy of Go90. Till date, almost 15% of Go90's content (mostly originals) has been distributed to AOL Video. AOL Inc — a major player in the digital content and online advertising space — was acquired by Verizon in June 2015. Verizon has further plans to expand this effort to Yahoo's brands before the end of the year. In fact, the company is beginning to distribute Go90 content across some of its Oath brands.

Oath is Verizon’s new company overseeing Yahoo and AOL, including more than 20 brands like Yahoo News, HuffPost, Engadget, TechCrunch, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports and Tumblr.

Go90’s primary content strategy is now focused on video content that slots between the less-than-10-minute clips that dominate social media and the more-than-30-minute shows and films popular on SVODs (subscription video-on-demand) like Amazon.com AMZN, Hulu and Netflix Inc NFLX.

It’s surprising to note that Verizon is gearing up with its Go90 expansion plans at a time, when it has been reported that Marni Walden, executive vice president and president of global media and telematics, Verizon, is resigning in February 2018.

Walden was heading Verizon’s video team which operates Fios, Verizon-Hearst digital-video networks joint venture Complex Networks and the recently acquired Vessel. Separately, Verizon and Hearst also own stakes in AwesomenessTV, which is owned by cable TV behemoth, Comcast Corp CMCSA.

Notably, in January 2017, Verizon had laid off 155 employees working on its struggling Go90 mobile platform. The company also reported that its Fios pay-TV service managed flat growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 by adding 21,000 subscribers.

Walden is leaving Verizon after facilitating the Yahoo acquisition and the formation of Oath. She will be officially leaving her position at the end of the year and transition to an advisory role.

Oath CEO Tim Armstrong will now report directly to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, and the telematics division will report to John Stratton, executive vice president and president of Global Operations.

We wait to see how Verizon’s plans to merge its video streaming service Go 90 into its other digital platforms, pays off.

Currently, Verizon is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Price Performance

Over the past three months, shares of Verizon have returned 14.5% compared with the industry’s increase of 7.6%.

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