×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Verizon, AwesomenessTV Fold Premium-Content Venture, Samie Kim Falvey Out (EXCLUSIVE)

Verizon and AwesomenessTV have decided to not move forward with the premium-content service they were developing, and with the move Samie Kim Falvey — the TV exec they had hired to oversee the venture — is leaving, Variety has learned.

The companies had announced plans for the premium service a year ago, billed as a kind of HBO for millennials with short-form shows designed for mobile phones. The plan was for the service to be separate from Verizon’s Go90 ad-supported service. The joint venture had been internally code-named “Made for Mobile,” although Verizon and AwesomenessTV had not given it an official name.

In a joint statement provided to Variety, the companies said, “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.”

Verizon and AwesomenessTV tapped Falvey, who exited as head of comedy for ABC Entertainment in 2015 after shepherded through hits for the network including “Modern Family,” “The Goldbergs,” “Black-ish,” “The Middle” and “Fresh Off the Boat.” She had been with ABC for 10 years, after working at Fox.

Falvey, as chief content officer for the venture, had hired executives for her team including Russell Rothberg, former head of executive VP of drama development at Universal Television, as senior VP of creative. Falvey did not respond to requests for comment.

“We are big fans of Samie and the super creative team she assembled,” AwesomenessTV president Brett Bouttier said in a statement. “We are grateful to have worked with her and her team and are eager to find ways to work with them going forward.”

Plans for the premium mobile-content service were announced when Verizon acquired a 24.5% stake in AwesomenessTV in April 2016, with the telco investing $159 million into the company. AwesomenessTV is majority owned by DreamWorks Animation (now part of Comcast), and Hearst owns the remaining 24.5% stake.

Separately, Verizon last month laid off 155 staffers in its Go90 division, mostly former employees of Intel’s OnCue over-the-top service. The telco is tasking the team from Vessel, which Verizon acquired last year, to rebuild to Go90 service and handle its engineering and operations.

Not long after the news broke Monday, AwesomenessTV CEO Brian Robbins made an appearance at the Code Media conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif., but did not address the end of the content joint venture with Verizon. He did, however, address the state of Go90.

“I think it’s really slow slow going,” he said. “I think the audience is small right now but growing right now over the last six months. They pivoted the product a lot.”

Andrew Wallenstein contributed to this story.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Bristol, CT - March 13, 2017

    Mina Kimes Helps ESPN Kick Off 'Daily' Podcast

    Mina Kimes is preparing to take ESPN into a new frontier. The sports-media giant has launched a “SportsCenter” for Snapchat and tested baseball telecasts for kids. Now it’s hoping to set up shop in another media venue. Starting tomorrow, the Disney-backed company launches “ESPN Daily,” a weekday morning podcast that aims to tap its vast [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    AT&T's Ad-Tech Unit Xandr Buys Clypd To Help Place TV Commercials More Precisely

    Xandr, the AT&T ad-technology unit, has purchased a new company that helps advertisers use data to place commercials in front of the audiences most likely to want to watch them The AT&T division said Friday it had acquired clypd, a company that helps advertisers move forward in a growing desire by Madison Avenue to run [...]

  • AT&T Logo Building

    AT&T TV Now Price Hike Coming Next Month, Base Package to Cost $65

    AT&T is instituting a substantial price hike for its live TV streaming service AT&T TV Now: Customers who have subscribed to the service’s basic “Plus” package will see their bill go up by $15, to a total of $65 per month, starting next month. The telco has started to inform existing subscribers about the price [...]

  • Disney-Family-Movies

    Disney Family Movies SVOD Service Is Shutting Down Ahead of Disney Plus Debut

    After 11 years, Disney is pulling the plug on Disney Family Movies On Demand — with the service’s shutdown coming just days before the launch of the Mouse House’s Disney Plus. Disney Family Movies, which cost between $5-$10 per month, has been available via pay-TV providers in the U.S., including Comcast Xfinity, Charter Communications, Verizon [...]

  • Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham

    Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ Soccer Doc Series

    Amazon has greenlit a new “All or Nothing” sports documentary series, this time following London-based soccer team Tottenham Hotspur. “All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur” will follow a year in the life of the team, charting the ongoing 2019-20 season. The squad made it to the final of the European Champions League last year, losing to [...]

  • Jeffrey Katzenberg

    Jeffrey Katzenberg's Quibi Picks T-Mobile as Wireless Launch Partner

    Quibi, the short-form mobile TV service founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, announced a pact with T-Mobile to be the official telecommunications partner for its April 2020 launch. T-Mobile will be the exclusive wireless distributor when Quibi launches next spring. However, the arrangement doesn’t mean only T-Mobile customers will be able to subscribe to Quibi: Anyone will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content