Verizon, Hearst Form ‘Complex Networks’ Digital-Video Business, Headed by Rich Antoniello

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Verizon and Hearst have named their digital-video networks joint venture Complex Networks, and they have put Rich Antoniello, formerly CEO of Complex, in charge of the operation.

The Complex Networks banner will combine Complex Media, the digital-media company focused on millennial males that Verizon and Hearst acquired earlier this year, with the JV’s two recently launched digital video networks: RatedRed.com, a lifestyle brand aimed at millennials in conservative-leaning “red states,” and Seriously.TV, a news-comedy channel patterned on late-night TV formats.

Antoniello is CEO of Complex Networks, which is based in New York City and owned 50-50 by Verizon and Hearst. In addition, Neeraj Khemlani, president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, and Brian Angiolet, senior VP of Verizon’s consumer product portfolio, will assume the roles of co-chairmen of Complex Networks.

Separately, Verizon and Hearst also own stakes in AwesomenessTV, which is majority owned by Comcast (which recently completed its acquisition of DreamWorks Animation).

The idea with the creation of Complex Networks is to create a collection of digital-oriented brands geared around video and social content, aimed largely at audiences that are veering away from traditional TV. Its website is ComplexNetworks.com.

“We want those multiplatform brands to deliver short-form content to mobile and social channels, as well as premium video content and audiences to our partner, Verizon, and other SVOD and linear distribution platforms,” Khemlani said in a statement.

The formation 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,” Angiolet added.

Complex, which was co-founded by Antoniello and fashion designer Marc Ecko in 2002, attracts more than 52 million unique visitors per month, according to comScore data. Overall, the properties under the Complex Networks umbrella generate more than 500 million videos views a month and have a combined social following of over 75 million users (largely thanks to the existing Complex business).

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