Early last year, former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar launched Vessel, a video startup aimed at taking on YouTube. While the brand struggled to catch on with viewers, the company must have done something right, because it has been acquired by Verizon. Unfortunately, there is also a catch: Verizon plans to shut the business down.
“Though the team and the actual tech and product will live on at Verizon in ways that will become apparent in the months and years ahead, sadly we will be sunsetting the Vessel service at the end of this month,” the Vessel team wrote in a blog post. “All subscribers of Vessel will be provided complimentary access for the month of October, and subscribers of our annual plan will be refunded back to the beginning of October.”
Vessel co-founder and chief technology officer Richard Tom will continue to operate in a similar capacity as he has been, leading the technical end of things. Kilar’s focus will be helping smooth the Vessel’s team transition to working within Verizon.
When it launched, Vessel planned to draw popular creators away from YouTube by offering them more cash. This might have drawn a few creators, but in general, the company hardly put a dent in YouTube’s massive subscriber base, making it tough to draw creators, even with the promise of more money. Even with its troubles attracting viewers, the company managed to raise a fair amount of money. The company reportedly had planned a pivot and had secured deals with various content creators just prior to the announcement of its acquisition by Verizon.
Verizon plans to hire most of Vessel’s staff, and will use its technology to push its own video ambitions forward, but hasn’t shared any details on what exactly it plans to do. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is expected to close within a month’s time.