NEW YORK – Verizon and Hearst have agreed to form a joint venture to develop digital video programming targeting a younger mobile audience. The venture will be known as Verizon Hearst Media Partners and will pair Verizon’s technology and Hearst’s digital video content and production capabilities.
Verizon will make an investment in the venture and the companies will develop two initial channels of video programming called RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV These channels will be distributed across go90, AOL and other distribution platforms, as well as through third-party networks and licensors.
Go90 is a video streaming service for Verizon customers and AOL was acquired by Verizon in 2015.
“Verizon Hearst Media Partners represents the next step in the development of our media strategy, which is focused on disruption that is occurring in digital media, content distribution and ad tech, and involves building a video platform for digitization, formatting, delivery and commerce,” said Brian Angiolet, Verizon’s senior vice president of consumer product and marketing. “On the heels of our acquisition of AOL and the launch of go90, developing a portfolio of content enables us to capitalize on the forces transforming the mobile ecosystem. In Hearst, not only have we found a partner with deep domain expertise, but also one who shares our point of view on the opportunities created by shifting paradigms and what it will take to win while creating the networks of the future.”
The venture will initially launch two channels: RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV. RatedRed.com will be a multiplatform digital video channel for millennials from the heartland, offering this audience a brand of their own, with a lens on the world via news updates, documentaries and scripted and nonscripted series across topics like music, food, outdoor life, military affairs, politics and faith. Seriously.TV will be a multiplatform digital video channel offering comedic news updates throughout the day at a time when younger viewers are turning to their phones instead of late-night programming for their take on world events. Both channels are expected to launch in time for the NewFronts, an annual series of events for advertisers and media buyers committed to showcasing the creation of valuable partnerships between brands and native digital programming.
“Hearst has invested in some of the most robust millennial-focused digital video networks—from BuzzFeed and Vice to AwesomenessTV and Complex—and we are excited to add Verizon as a partner to continue to build and invest in this space,” said Neeraj Khemlani, co-president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication. “It’s the dawn of a new era of video brands for the next generation of viewers and in Verizon, we have found a partner with unparalleled ad, video and mobile technology that will accelerate the launch of new digital video channels for this mobile-first audience.”
Verizon Hearst Media Partners will be headquartered in New York City. Additional details of the venture will be announced at a later date.