Gaming is getting its own network: the Video Game Entertainment and News Network (VENN). Network: VENN has raised $17 million in seed round funding with the aim of launching a brand new network, focused around gaming and esports entertainment.
The Video Game Entertainment and News Network: VENN will launch in 2020 with two live studios, one in New York and one in Los Angeles it was announced earlier today. The gaming-dedicated channel will broadcast content on social media platforms and streaming platforms including Twitch and YouTube, the most popular platforms for video game streaming right now.
The network will also target distribution deals with ‘skinny bundles’ like Pluto TV, YouTube TV and Sling, to stream programming. Co-founders Ben Kusin and Ariel Horn developed the VENN concept in order to fill in the gaps in esports and gaming content that came about as publishers focused on keeping up with industry demands.
In a recent press release, Horn stated: “They’re focused primarily on making new games and extending the lifetime of play for existing games … There was a hunger around creating content that not only was the esports competition, but a variety of other entertainment crossover content that would bridge everything from reality to game shows to elevating streamers from where they are right now.”
Horn was responsible for much of the esports production at Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment, Kusin previously of Vivendi Games, who merged with Activision back in 2007 becoming gaming giant Activision Blizzard. Network: VENN will also facilitate investment into the content and production-side of what is a growing global gaming industry.
It is projected that the gaming industry will generate over $150 billion worldwide in 2019 alone, while the esports industry could become a billion-dollar industry in the same year.
Horn went on to say:“We’re looking at a very interesting asymmetric here, an industry that makes $150 billion a year with no TV network … The wide space of opportunity and the opportunity itself is very attractive to the investor community.”
VENN has been described as a hub for “highly resonant content” that reflects the broad scope of the gaming audience and the nuances of its different communities. It is conceivable that, because of esports’ digital and global nature, VENN could have a vast cultural impact in a similar way to watershed networks like ESPN and MTV when they were founded.
″[VENN] can be way more diverse and inclusive, and I think gaming needs that in spades but on a global scale … Esports [already has a far more inherently global audience than when networks like ESPN and MTV were launched], and that worldwide outreach will grow thanks to unique opportunities that will come with how these channels and notes are built.” said Topgolf Media president and World Golf Tour game founder YuChiang Chen.
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