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Why AT&T Should Pay Attention to Go90’s Demise

Verizon decided to shut down its Go90 service after it failed to gain any traction.

The news that Verizon is shutting down its Go90 streaming app less than three years after its launch underscores how just being a wireless service with tons of customers doesn’t guarantee they’ll want to watch your content. This news will be highly relevant to AT&T, which just acquired Time Warner in a $85 billion deal with an eye toward leveraging Time Warner’s vast portfolio of content–everything from Game of Thrones to Wonder Woman–and serving it up to its 150 million-plus wireless users as mobile entertainment.

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The big draw of Go90 was that it didn’t eat into your data plan–and it was free, whether or not you were a Verizon user. But in a world where there are services like Netflix and Hulu with award-winning TV shows and movies, all of which are relatively cheap to subscribe to, who needs a Go90, whose content has been described as “meh”? Yes, there was the Oscar-nominated animated short, Kobe Bryant’s Dear Basketball. (Who knew?) But most of Go90’s offerings were niche even for a niche service: Gym Class Science, a sports comedy series; Hot Guys Build Stuff, a how-to series; and Life of a Fitness Pop Star, about Fitness Marshall, “the king of cardio dance.”

As AT&T thinks about its content strategy, and as even Verizon possibly leans into a big content acquisition (CBS?), it needs to remember that while content may be king, that content still has to be good.

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About the author

Nicole LaPorte is an LA-based senior writer for Fast Company who writes about where technology and entertainment intersect. She previously was a columnist for The New York Times and a staff writer for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and Variety

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