Telecom Verizon and publishing giant Hearst are taking RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV — the two millennial-focused digital networks they launched in partnership earlier this year — and putting them under the new banner of Complex Networks.
Founded in 2002 by fashion designer Marc Ecko and Rich Antoniello as a bi-monthly magazine, Complex branched out into online broadcasting in 2012. In April, it was acquired by Verizon Hearst Media Partners, the 50–50 joint venture between Verizon and Hearst that owns RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV. Complex currently boasts more than 52 million unique views a month.
Antoniello, formerly CEO of Complex, will become CEO of Complex Networks, and Neeraj Khemlani, president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, and Brian Angiolet, SVP of Verizon’s consumer product portfolio, will take on the additional roles of co-chairmen of Complex Networks.
RatedRed.com targets millennials in the red states of America’s heartland with news updates, documentaries and scripted and non-scripted series exploring topics such as music, food, outdoor life, military affairs, politics and faith. Seriously.TV provides comedic news updates throughout the day, when younger viewers are turning to their phones to keep abreast of world events. They will now be available alongside Complex at complexnetworks.com.
“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,” said Antoniello in a statement. “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.”
Verizon and Hearst also each own a separate 24.5% stake in multi-platform production company AwesomenessTV. The controlling stake is owned by NBCUniversal, which purchased previous majority stake owner DreamWorks Animation for $4.83 billion in cash in July.