Verizon offers free mobile TV

(Reuters, YouTube, NFL, Comedy Central) – You’ll soon be able to watch content ranging from Comedy Central shows to NFL games for free on your mobile device.

Verizon’s mobile app, “go90,” goes on trial Tuesday to its own customers. But it will launch the service to all users later this month. Go90 targets the young. Verizon will stream up to 200 hours of web and TV content from AwesomenessTV, Vice Media, Food Network and Discovery, among others.

What sets Verizon’s offering apart is that it’s free – supported by ads – and it features short-form video. This pits the telecom provider against Internet titans Google and Facebook. Its rival, AT&T, owns DirecTV, whose SlingTV service offers a bundle of TV channels for $20 a month. And cable programmers like Showtime and HBO stream their own programming for $11-15 a month.

MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett says Verizon’s strategy shows “genuine promise,” adding, it’s the only video service offering advertisers data “… based on location, at the personal level rather than the household level, with unprecedented knowledge of purchase intent and a wealth of demographic and prior purchase information.”

Verizon shares, down 4 percent this year, rose in early trading.