Back in October 0f 2016, I tried to explain what Verizon’s “Go90” service was. I brought it up at that moment since it looked like the service was going away, and it seemed like a good time to contrast Verizon’s streaming plans with those of its biggest competitor, AT&T.
Timing is everything. Seriously.
In 2016, the world wasn’t sold on live streaming TV. Half a decade earlier, it seemed like an impossible feat. Intel had tried to develop a device to do it, and they couldn’t scale it up. The product never launched.
It’s funny as we look back. Ten years ago, subscription video on demand services like Netflix and Hulu were in their infancy. In fact Netflix and Hulu were basically all there was and both were free. Netflix required you to have a disc subscription but the streaming stuff was just there for you to use. Hulu had a free and paid tier as well. This kind of streaming was looked at as a novelty, not something mainstream.
Fifteen years ago, we were all just getting into YouTube. Think about that… before that there was barely any streaming video at all! The internet was barely fast enough for GIFs, let alone streaming video.
Verizon definitely had the wrong timing. Their service might have flourished today if it had launched. It was mobile only, which seemed like a problem in 2016 and doesn’t seem like one now.
Or, maybe it still wouldn’t have made a difference
A few years after Verizon left the streaming universe, AT&T launched a similar service called AT&T Watch TV. It was largely mobile only and limited to AT&T subscribers. It was, in many ways, a stripped-down version of DIRECTV Now. AT&T Watch TV didn’t really make a dent in the world, and was eventually taken offline.
It’s just proof that the streaming world is still very new, people are trying new things every day, and some of them just don’t succeed. We are still very much in the wild west days of streaming. It’s so incredibly new. We tend not to think about that because it’s become such a big part of our lives.