Ivana Kirkbride exits Vessel, joins go90

The new content chief at Verizon's mobile-first streamer is tasked with building out "the next evolution of content" around scripted series and franchises.
July 11, 2016

Manhattan-based go90, the mobile-first, ad-supported streamer launched by Verizon last year, is expanding into the City of Angels, and employee number one at LA HQ is former Vessel top content exec Ivana Kirkbride.

As the newly appointed content chief at go90, Kirkbride is tasked with helping to build what the telco calls “the next evolution of content” around scripted series and franchises with both linear and digital creators and actors.

This was an open position that Chip Canter, GM of Verizon digital entertainment was looking to fill, the company confirmed via email.

Kirkbride’s “track record of establishing strong creator and partner relations and business development over the years makes her a great fit for go90, as we focus on channel mix and programming strategy across live sports, originals, primetime and best-of-the-web,” the email states. 

Kirkbride’s content selection and merchandising experience — honed through a one-year stint as VP, head of content at Vessel and, prior to that, five years at YouTube — also made her an attractive hire as Verizon looks to boost its efforts around content discoverability on existing go90 channels, and build out new ones.

Kirkbride has made no secret of her belief in the potential of the digital space and, specifically, the opportunity it presents for innovation in developing, programming and distributing content. Specifically, she sees a future in so-called “micro-windowing” — a new distribution model made possible by the emergence of platforms such as go90 and the likes of Snapchat, Vessel, YouNow and Vine.

“There could be a 24-hour window on Snapchat leading into a seven-day early access window on Vessel to build awareness and momentum for a feature that has a limited release in theaters. Post-theatrical, it could be licensed exclusively to a free, ad-supported platform such as Go90 or Buzzfeed for 30 days and then released to iTunes for transactional, while concurrently released to a pay-streaming platform such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon. All of this before it initiates previous traditional distribution models from the models above, and before any international opportunities,” she said in an earlier interview with StreamDaily.

“The traditional rules no longer apply.”

The new hire is just one of a series of strategic moves in recent weeks made by Verizon as it looks to strengthen go90’s presence in the U.S. streaming market. Among the most significant, the telco unveiled a new version of the go90 platform that includes enhanced navigation tools to help users discover, watch and share its slate of original and licensed programming, and reduce the amount of clicks it takes to start streaming that content.

Among the changes, the platform added pages to make specific series easier to find. The update also allows users to cast go90 to larger screens via Apple TV and Chromecast, and explore curated networks like action, comedy, drama, and reality.

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

Verizon exec Brian Angiolet said at the time that broadening the reach of the ad-supported go90 service has been in the works since it launched in October in the U.S. — shortly after Verizon acquired AOL and its digital assets, including The Huffington Post, for $4.4 billion.

“The idea always was that…we would publish (the go90 content) out and maximize the return on investment across all our distribution platforms,” he said.

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