Inside Verizon's Plans to Reinvent the TV Ad Model With Go90

Publicis Groupe Strikes Exclusive Launch Deal For Clients

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When Verizon's internet TV service, Go90, debuts this week, advertising will look much the same as it does for most digital services, with the usual 15 and 30-second pre-roll and mid-roll commercials. But Verizon has big plans for its free, mobile-first service to reinvent the TV ad model.

"We plan to challenge the fundamentals of the industry," said Brian Angiolet, senior VP-consumer products, Verizon.

AOL and Verizon will be unveiling the ad strategy for Go90 during an Advertising Week presentation tonight. Go90 will include a mix of live events, popular prime-time TV shows and original web series. Mr. Angiolet notes that all of this content living side-by-side will shift the way ad inventory is valued. "The definition of how to price ads changes," he said. "The audience is the premium."

Verizon is one of several pay-TV operators that is creating over-the-top platforms in an effort to appeal to younger consumers. It's a race to not only invent new ways to view content, but also invent innovative advertising methods to live in these environments. Thus far, much of the advertising is being served as it always had been.

That could change, however, even before the end of the year.

Go90 has already received over $50 million in ad commitments, which includes an upfront deal with Publicis Groupe, said Chad Gallagher, global head of mobile, AOL. The holding company signed on as the exclusive agency partner for the fourth quarter, with more than 10 of its brands planning to advertise on Go90. Mr. Gallagher declined to provide specifics on which brands will be visible at launch.

The platform will open up to other advertisers outside of the holding company next year.

Mr. Gallagher said the deal will allow them to "go deep with the holding company and its brands. ... This is a new medium for brands, and we are working with Publicis to understand how brands can interact on the platform."

One way marketers will be able to utilize Go90 is by targeting consumers one-to-one, in addition to targeting based on age. Verizon will be integrating AOL's ad-tech platform, One by AOL, into Go90 over the next several months, which will layer data and consumer insights into the platform. "One of the reasons why Verizon acquired AOL is it saw Go90 coming down the pipeline," Mr. Gallagher said.

Verizon also plans to make use of the content marketing platform, Pictela, which is owned by AOL, to reinvent video ad units for a mobile viewing experience. Verizon recently folded Pictela into its new One by AOL: Creative.

Mr. Gallagher said there's an opportunity to shorten commercials to five and seven seconds. "Currently, many brands simply take their TV spots and use them in mobile," Mr. Gallagher said. But touch screens, maps and apps running in the background, present opportunities for different type of ads.

Marketers can also create their own "Crews," which are essentially special interest groups for specific types of programming, whether that be dark comedies, the Dallas Cowboys or Japanese baseball. Marketers can also air their own branded content in their "Crews."

"Brands become the curator … and can surround themselves with the right tone and messaging," Mr. Angiolet said.

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