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Verizon acquires video startup Vessel

Verizon Communications has acquired the technology and software behind Vessel, the short-form subscription video service founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar. The deal will see Vessel shuttering on Monday (Oct. ...
October 27, 2016

Verizon Communications has acquired the technology and software behind Vessel, the short-form subscription video service founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar.

The deal will see Vessel shuttering on Monday (Oct. 31). Verizon, meanwhile, will obtain the company’s tech, which provides super fans with early access to videos from digital stars. The move is intended to bolster the telco’s OTT video efforts, while enhancing its content discovery and innovative features.

The majority of Vessel employees will transition into the Verizon fold, with Vessel chief technology officer Richard Tom becoming Verizon’s CTO for digital entertainment, including across its mobile-first streaming platform go90.

Kilar (pictured), meanwhile, will not join the telecommunications giant and will instead oversee the Vessel’s transition through the end of the year.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition is subject to several conditions and is expected to close later this month.

Verizon earlier poached Ivana Kirkbride from Vessel earlier this summer, naming her content chief officer. At Vessel, Kirkbride served as VP and head of content where she was responsible for content selection and merchandising.

In May, Verizon made public its plans to shift go90′s image from a mobile-only platform to one that is mobile-first. The move includes the planned expansion of go90′s programming slate to AOL platforms in Q3 2016.

“When we examined and evaluated all that the Vessel team has executed to date and their technical strengths in areas of content discovery, recommendation, OTT subscription management and user experience management, we were able to identify a number of ways this was a smart pairing,” said Chip Canter, GM of Verizon Entertainment, in a statement.

“We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to help shape the future of video on a dramatically larger scale with Verizon,” added Vessel co-founder and CTO Richard Tom.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.

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