AwesomenessTV and Verizon are scrapping plans for a streaming service that would have offered premium short-form video, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
As part of the closure of the yet-to-launch service, the executive brought in to shepherd the project, Samie Kim Falvey, is leaving.
ATV and Verizon announced the joint venture last year in conjunction with a $159 million investment in AwesomenessTV. Verizon now owns 24.5 percent of the company alongside Hearst. DreamWorks Animation owned the majority of the company, but with the sale of DWA to NBCUniversal, it is now a part of DreamWorks New Media.
Verizon, meanwhile, continues to put significant resources into go90, it’s free, ad-supported app for short- form video. AwesomenessTV distributes a number of shows on the app, including Guidance and T@gged.
“We’ve been making premium content for go90 already, but we were making it in our demo for this young audience,” AwesomenessTV CEO Brian Robbins tells The Hollywood Reporter, referencing the Generation Z demographic that much of the company’s content is oriented toward. “It’s been working so well that we and Verizon felt that the best thing that we could do right now was double down, or maybe even triple down, on what’s working.”
Verizon has not released ratings around go90, though executives have said that the service is still small and trying to grow an audience. AwesomenessTV’s projects are said to be some of the more successful on the app, and both Guidance and T@gged were renewed for second seasons.
Falvey, who was previously head of comedy at ABC, joined the new venture in August, becoming one of a number of former TV executives who have jumped to digital, including Susanne Daniels at YouTube. She had been building out her team, including Universal Television veteran Russell Rothberg.
Robbins says AwesomenessTV is looking for more ways to work with her. “Samie is amazing, and she’s a brilliant executive,” he adds. “This is more about a business decision. We’re going to find ways to work with Samie and some cool stuff with her in the future.”
The company issued the following statement: “The most important part of the Awesomeness/Verizon go90 partnership is our premium content, and the success of Guidance and T@gged have shown what we can do together. Rather than launch a new and separate venture, we decided to instead double down on the Awesomeness episodic series output for go90 and also extend the term of our relationship to best build on the momentum we are seeing with our Gen Z target audience.”
Variety first reported the news.
Feb. 13, 6:44 p.m.: Updated with comments from CEO Brian Robbins.