Verizon is forming a joint venture with Hearst to develop content for millennials to watch on their smartphones, according to The New York Times. The newly formed Verizon Hearst Media Partners will launch RatedRed.com, a channel for "millennials from the heartland" that will offer programming covering music, politics, military, faith, and food, and and Seriously.TV which will cover current events with a comedic twist. Both channels will be available this spring, with more to follow.
The joint venture is the latest addition to an increasingly crowded streaming market, with cable stalwarts like HBO and Showtime offering their content to consumers without cable subscriptions. This is also the latest push by Verizon to promote its Go90 app — another venture targeted at millennials — where all of the content from this joint venture will also live. (Content will also be available on the websites of each channel.)
Millennial content is everywhere
For its part, Hearst has been an active investor in digital properties, owning stakes in Buzzfeed, Vice, and AwesomenessTV. "Every time there is a giant technology shift, you want something that is authentic to that new audience," Neeraj Khemlani, the co-president of Hearst Entertainment and Syndication told The New York Times. "The new generation wants new brands that reflect their views, their lens on the world. This is a forward investment into a new generation."
Whether or not this will work is another story. Fusion, another joint venture between Univision and Disney targeted at millennials, has lost money since its inception, costing Univision $17.8 million during the first nine months of 2015, and recent reports have Disney trying to get out of the deal. But with the success of millennial-targeted video content from digital properties like Buzzfeed and Vice, every old media company is bound to throw its hat in the game at some point.