Verizon and Hearst announce the creation of Complex Networks
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NEW YORK — Verizon Communications Inc. and Hearst today announced they will bring together Complex—one of the largest millennial digital media brands—with recently-launched digital video networks RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV under the new banner of Complex Networks.
Rich Antoniello, formerly CEO of Complex, will become CEO of Complex Networks. Neeraj Khemlani, president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, and Brian Angiolet, senior vice president of Verizon’s consumer product portfolio, will take on the additional roles of co-chairmen of Complex Networks.
Complex was co-founded by Antoniello, and fashion and cultural entrepreneur Marc Ecko, in 2002. It has a long history of creating exhilarating content focused on American pop culture—from music, entertainment and sports to video games, fashion and food—for voracious Gen Z and millennial consumers, engaging and mobilizing an audience of over 52 million UVs per month (comScore).
With RatedRed.com, geared at heartland millennials, and Seriously.TV, a tongue-in-cheek comedic take on of-the-moment news, Complex Networks is building an influential collection of brands, through best-in-class video and social content.
“Our partners at Verizon and Hearst respected what we have built with Complex and are now entrusting us with this immense opportunity to bring all of these brands together to build the biggest and best collection of vertical voices of tomorrow,” Antoniello said. “By combining the resources and assets of our parent companies—with unparalleled offerings in mobile ad and video technology, as well as premium content production—with the differentiation and growth of RatedRed, Seriously.TV and Complex, you’re looking at a set of digital video networks that will continue to grow production, distribution, and monetization of must watch programming for an audience that is as massive as it is engaged.”
Already, Complex Networks’ stable of brands, owned 50/50 by Verizon and Hearst, generate over 500 million videos views a month and have a combined social following of over 75 million users. It has become a top 10 publisher in the U.S. when it comes to social interaction and engagement on channels like Facebook and YouTube and a top 15 web property among the coveted 18-24-year-old male audience, ranking among digital powerhouses like Snapchat and Twitter.
“Hearst and Verizon are committed to launching and investing in digital video networks for the next generation of viewers who want their own authentic brands,” Khemlani said. “We want those multi-platform brands to deliver short-form content to mobile and social channels, as well as premium video content and audiences to our partner, Verizon, and other SVOD and linear distribution platforms.”
With today’s announcement, Verizon continues to diversify its content and distribution businesses within the Verizon digital media portfolio.
“The formation and concentration of Complex Networks helps us further diversify our content and distribution businesses within the Verizon digital media portfolio, and sharpen our focus on these networks for this newer generation,” Angiolet said. “We’re now focused on integrating these building blocks of recently acquired digital assets, through merchandising and distribution, to drive the intended engagement viewership among these younger audiences.”
Verizon and Hearst also have stakes in AwesomenessTV, another leading Gen Z digital media brand, which continues under the leadership of Founder and CEO Brian Robbins.