Founded in 2014 as a subscription streaming service to rival YouTube, Vessel has not renewed its contracts with many of the top creators it once lured to its platform. Verizon is in talks to acquire Jason Kilar's mobile video service, Vessel, according to a report in Recode.
Kilar, who ran Hulu in its early days, founded Vessel in 2014 as a subscription video business that would offer up early access to content from top YouTube stars. The company raised more than $130 million from Jeff Bezos' Bezos Expeditions and Silicon Valley venture capital firms Greylock, Benchmark and Institutional Venture Partners to strike rich upfront deals with many online stars to bring them to the platform.
But Vessel, which charges $2.99 a month, has fallen silent over the last year, dropping the limited advertising that it was showing to subscribers and, according to sources, not re-upping many of its deals with the creators it once convinced to window their content exclusively on Vessel for 72 hours.
An acquisition of Vessel — which was hailed for its beautiful design and seamless advertising experience when it launched — could be advantageous to Verizon, which last year launched ad-supported streaming service go90. The telecom giant has been focusing heavily on media in recent years as it scoops up properties including AOL and Yahoo to build out its content pipeline and advertising technology.
Representatives from Verizon and Vessel declined to comment.