Verizon has struggled in getting its go90 mobile video content venture to take off, but that isn’t stopping the carrier from setting lofty goals for its Oath platform following the close of its Yahoo merger deal.
At an analyst meeting on Monday, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong outlined three main goals that Verizon has set for Oath to hit by 2020. Those, he said, include attracting more than 10 million creators and two billion consumers, and achieving revenues in the $10 billion to $20 billion range.
As pointed out by Wells Fargo Senior Analyst Jennifer Fritzsche, Verizon’s expectations for Oath are “quite high.” The customer figure alone represents a 700 million increase over today’s audience figure of 1.3 billion. And for perspective on the revenue side, Fritzsche pointed out that the $15 billion mid-point in Verizon’s goal range would represent some 12 percent of Verizon’s current revenue.
To get there, Armstrong reiterated Oath’s “very simple” three-pronged strategy to develop brands people love, platforms for ads, video, and publishing that companies love, and a company talent loves.
“The combination with Yahoo is going to create a very, very powerful asset for the future,” Armstrong said. “From a customer perspective, you essentially have three major choices to work with different partners: Facebook, Google, Amazon – or us … We are one of the most attractive partners in the space … We’re going to have a massive set of owned and operated properties that are global that consumers use every day. We’re going to have what’ll eventually be millions of customers. And we’ll have – we’re starting off with about 14,000 employees and about half of them are engineers, so we’ll have 7,000 engineers.”
In the next six to eight weeks, Armstrong said Oath will begin ramping up marketing using a “super-channel strategy” across the news, sports, entertainment, finance, and technology content segments.
“We are going to basically compete the same way you have cable distribution, we will have an analogous internet distribution system overall,” Armstrong explained. “We also partner with every other major provider: Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Snapchat. We have an omnichannel business model that works basically not just with our properties and our partners, but across the larger ecosystem also.”
One of the categories Oath is betting on in particular to give it a boost is – perhaps surprisingly given all the chatter about video – news.
“News is the nucleus of any media organization,” Huffpost CEO Jared Grusd said at the meeting. “If you think about the billion plus consumers who we will be reaching on a daily basis, the thing driving those consumers almost as an essential utility of their media consumption is news. News is the thing that forms daily habits, so it really serves as the anchor tenant of how we think about introducing consumers into the flywheel of the media organization that we’re building … News is actually driving the behavior, both on the consumer tech companies and on the media companies … we’re sitting on the terrific opportunity to become the most relevant, leading content provider of news in the world.”