Verizon takes aim at millennials


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The telecommunications company announced in early 2016 a partnership with Hearst Corporation to launch two digital media brands. The first, RatedRed.com, provides lifestyle content for millennials living in the heartland of America. Meanwhile, Seriously.TV is a politically focused comedy network, also aimed at millennials.

Both brands will be distributed over social media, much like content from YouTube, Vox and Buzzfeed. Verizon users with the go90 app will be able to see all the featured content upfront.

Verizon added onto its go90 service in April by announcing an investment of 24.5 percent stake in AwesomenessTV, a digital content channel targeted to millennials. AwesomenessTV features original series and lifestyle content over YouTube; DreamWorks Animation and Hearst also own stakes in the channel.

AT&T, Verizon’s top rival in telecommunications, has $500 million in Otter Media, which is invested in various digital networks. Among those networks is Gunpowder & Sky, which promises subversive content in both short- and long-form video formats.

Both Verizon and AT&T are fighting a battle with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and upstart digital-media properties Vice, which recently launched its standalone channel, Viceland, that features original programming.

But while Viceland is aimed at urbane, edgy millennials seeking alternative viewpoints, Verizon – through RatedRed.com and AwesomenessTV, especially – is positioning itself to be a hub for populist audiences. RatedRed.com will focus distinctly on family, faith, food, music and military, clear principles for middle Americans nearing child-rearing age.

TRENDPOST: As streaming content grows ever mightily, knocking traditional television off its pedestal, communications companies are seeking to get their own piece of the pie. Plus, with plenty of video-content creators existing through YouTube and other platforms, the ability to grow brands is easier than ever. And Verizon is seeing an untapped audience: middle Americans loving God and country. Watch for other major corporations to attack this populist audience this year, especially as smartphones and other devices drive the streaming-video age forward.

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