The move serves a business purpose, giving the companies scale to present to advertisers for selling opportunities.
Rich Antoniello, formerly chief executive officer 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 cochairmen of Complex Networks.
Complex, which was cofounded by Antoniello and fashion designer Marc Ecko, in 2002, includes complex.com and dozens of lifestyle entertainment sites. According to Hearst, ratedred.com is “geared at heartland Millennials” — whatever that means — and seriously.tv is a”tongue-in-cheek comedic take on of-the-moment news.”
“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,” Antoniello said.
Angiolet expanded on that adding: “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. 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 24.5 percent stakes each in Gen Z-targeted AwesomenessTV, which continues under the leadership of founder and ceo Brian Robbins. The rest of Awesomeness is owned by DreamWorks Animation.