Verizon, Hearst Team Up on Mobile TV for Millennials
"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", says Neeraj Khemlani, co-president of Hearst Entertainment and Syndication.
According to Wednesday's announcement, the channels will include RatedRed.com, a channel for "heartland" millennials with a Vice-like lineup of news updates, documentaries and scripted and non-scripted series across a variety of topics; and Seriously.TV, a comedy channel focused on current events and politics. Content from the Verizon-Hearst channels also will be distributed on YouTube and other platforms and licensors, including potentially traditional TV networks.
Seriously.TV will offer comedic news updates throughout the day, with a similar format to late-night TV talk shows.
The companies expect the channels to launch in time for the Digital Content NewFronts in early May, the annual series of presentations for advertisers and media buyers. Hearst, meanwhile, owns a 25 percent stake in youth-skewing digital media firm AwesomenessTV and has made investments into male-centric Complex and BuzzFeed through its venture arm.
Both streaming services will target audiences of young adults aged 16-35, a lucrative market which Verizon has already attempted to crack with its Go90 app which will also receive content from the new venture.
Verizon launched its free, ad-supported go90 mobile service for Verizon Wireless customers in October 2015.
"Developing a portfolio of content enables us to capitalize on the forces transforming the mobile ecosystem", Angiolet added. Verizon said further details about its structure will be announced at a later date.
Carriers have historically failed to monetize mobile video offerings beyond simply charging for data consumption, but both Verizon and AT&T hope increased uptake of mobile video and larger mobile marketing budgets provide opportunities to create new revenue streams.