Hearst, Verizon Reorganize Digital Brands Under Complex Networks

Rich Antoniello - Complex - Getty - H 2016
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The companies jointly acquired the male-focused digital brand in April of this year.

Over the last year Verizon and Hearst have teamed up on a number of digital ventures, and now they are reorganizing those efforts under one banner, Complex Networks. 

The companies acquired Complex, the male-focused media company, in April of last year with the goal of running it as a joint venture. One month earlier the companies had partnered to establish Verizon Hearst Media Partners, a joint venture focused on digital video programming starting with Seriously.TV for comedy and RatedRed.com for millennials in the heartland. 

Now, RatedRed and Seriously.TV will fall under the banner of the newly created division, Complex Networks, with Complex CEO Rich Antoniello leading the new effort. Neeraj Khemlani, president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, and Brian Angiolet, senior vp Verizon's consumer products, will become co-chairmen of Complex Networks. 

"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. "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 now 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." 

The companies boast that the combined brands generate over 500 million video views a month and have a combined social following of more than 75 million users. Complex, which was founded in 2002, has an audience of more than 52 million unique visitors a month and has recently expanded from digital programming and its print magazine into live programming with the upcoming ComplexCon festival. 

"Hearst and Verizon are committed to launching and investing in digital video networks for the next generation of viewers who want to own authentic brands," said Khemlani, with Angiolet adding that, "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." 

Verizon and Hearst also both own minority stakes in AwesomenessTV, the digital video business owned by DreamWorks Animation. For Verizon, Complex Networks is a piece of a larger effort to broaden into digital programming that also includes free, ad-supported app go90