Vessel announced today that its video subscription service is being acquired by Verizon, where its capabilities will be used to further the telecommunication giant’s online video ambitions. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Vessel will be shuttered on October 31.
Current subscribers will be provided complimentary access for the rest of the month, and those with annual plans will be refunded back to the beginning of October.
Founded by Jason Kilar, Hulu’s former chief executive, Vessel served as a mobile video service that provided a selection of content from around the web for $2.99 per month. To differentiate itself from competitors like YouTube, Vimeo, and Hulu, Kilar’s startup was limited to short-form content with a 72-hour exclusive period.
Major television networks that signed agreements to have content featured through Vessel included Discovery Digital Networks, the Science Channel, A&E, NBC, and even the National Basketball Association (NBA). At one point, Vessel targeted YouTube’s top talent to grow its library. Vessel’s catalog of shows was likely part of what made it appealing to Verizon — not only in terms of video, but for advertising purposes.
In a blog post, Vessel makes it clear that at the heart of the transaction is its “technology, product, and team that we have built. These three things will be married with Verizon’s ambitions in online video.” Unfortunately, not everyone will be kept on board following the acquisition. Kilar will remain with Vessel until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition, and his cofounder and chief technology officer, Richard Tom, will oversee the integration.
This is the latest push by Verizon to bring on more content publishers — including AOL, Yahoo, and now Vessel. The acquisition of a video service also comes days after the telecommunications company’s nearest competitor purchased Time Warner for nearly $86 billion.
Reports of Vessel’s acquisition by Verizon first surfaced last month. Kilar’s startup raised more than $132 million in venture funding from investors like Benchmark, Bezos Expeditions, Comcast Ventures, Greylock Partners, Institutional Venture Partners, Saban Capital Group, and Third Wave Digital.
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