People/Biz

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
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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