VENN Launches, in Talks With Traditional Cable Networks – The Esports Observer|home of essential esports business news and insights

The new gaming-focused network VENN launches today, and its founders say they are getting a good reception from both the advertising market and platform operators including cable companies.

VENN will initially be on digital media platforms including Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and its own website, VENN.TV – and it will also soon be on OTT platforms including Vizio, Xumo and Stirr.

According to Ben Kusin, the co-CEO of VENN, the network is also in talks with traditional cable companies and hopes to strike such deals in the coming months. VENN is approaching such companies with an ad share model as opposed to asking for carriage fee.

VENN is going to be more focused on the overall gaming world as opposed to specifically covering competitive gaming, or esports, though the two areas naturally intersect to an extent. Shows will include “The Download,” which will be a daily gaming news update show; plus some more unique ideas like “Dare Package,” which is comparable to the former “Fear Factor” show on NBC; and even a show for gamers who are into fitness called “Looking For Gains.”

“Pretty incredible actually,” Kusin said of the reaction he and co-CEO Ariel Horn are getting from media companies as they pitch VENN. “They’re used to getting into a bit of a battle with networks over subscriber fees … so where we come in with no carriage fee, they see that as big, and then we’ll be delivering young Gen Z and Millennial viewers in force here … That’s a good way to start a conversation.”

VENN will produce 30 hours of live programming a week out of its L.A. studio, and it plans to open a New York City studio next year at One World Trade Center. While it’s not known exactly how much money has been poured into VENN to get it off the ground, VENN did announce during its formation late last year that it had raised $17M in seed funding from investors including BitKraft, Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, aXiomatic Gaming (whose investors include Ted Leonsis and Jeff Vinik) and the venture capital arm of media company Bertelsmann.

VENN will soon announce new advertisers from companies in sectors including movies, telecommunications, QSR, consumer-packaged good, entertainment, and apparel.

VENN’s launch comes not long after G4TV announced that it will be coming back under Comcast Spectacor ownership. As for potential competition from G4, Kusin said: “Anything that is good for gaming is good for us.”

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