New Venture From ComplexCon Founder Aims to Be HSN for Gen Z
NTWRK launches later this year with backing from Warner Bros. Digital Networks and MSA Enterprises, whose investors include Jimmy Iovine, Tom Werner, LeBron James, Maverick Carter and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Aaron Levant, who created the popular ComplexCon festivals and Agenda fashion tradeshows, has a new role as CEO of a venture backed by Warner Bros. Digital Networks and MSA Enterprises, whose investors include Jimmy Iovine, Tom Werner, LeBron James, Maverick Carter and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
NTWRK will feature original daily content focused on e-commerce sales, hosted by celebrities, musicians and pop culture figures. A secondary part of the business will be dedicated to experiences including pop-up theme parks.
What Levant hopes to create is the next wave of video commerce. “Like Home Shopping Network, but what the Gen Z, millennial, mobile-first version of that looks like with highly curated taste and access to big personalities,” he explained.
The exec plans to launch two short-format shows the first year, to air between three and five days a week. The first will be a shopping show, in partnership with "top brands in fashion, tech, sneakers, toys and collectibles" (Levant said it's too early to name names). The second will be a late-night talk show that’s shoppable. “It’s the perfect way to bring brands and talent together to create storytelling,” he said.
Levant sees a lot of potential for collaboration with Hollywood. “Beyond this being an interesting way to create content for consumer products, the exciting part is how we can create content for entertainment studios, support the launch of video games, big album releases, TV shows or films,” he said.
“We believe in the concept and are excited to support this tremendously compelling strategy to engage, enthuse and excite consumers about pop culture content and brands,” said Warner Bros. Digital Networks' Craig Hunegs.
Added Iovine, “This is a great team with a great concept serving a market that is clearly underserved.”
Levant is former senior vp at events organizer Reed Exhibitions, where in 2016 he launched ComplexCon — with Pharrell Williams as cultural director/executive chair — an event that has drawn consumers and stars in the fashion, arts and sports spaces, including Takashi Murakami, Kobe Bryant, Virgil Abloh and Jaden Smith. Prior to that, he founded the Agenda tradeshow for surf and skate brands. Levant comes with 18 years’ worth of experience across fashion, retail, events and media.
Shanon Kelley has been named chief revenue officer. Before NTWRK, she spent nine years at Vice Media, where she was vp experiential, and also launched Vice's female-focused channel Broadly.
Also joining NTWRK will be Gaston D-Letelier as vp licensing, and Jamie Iovine as vp talent relations, executives who together have more than 35 years of experience rooted in the fan-based collectibles and merchandising industry.
NTWRK is slated to officially launch later this year.