For those of us who have been wishing for a replacement to TechTV and G4 for years will get our wish soon as VENN will be launching this summer. The last time we had a proper video game-centric channel on cable or satellite television was back in 2012, just before G4 was changed into an unguided monstrosity that primarily played reruns of COPS. Now we're getting a new channel that appears to be more of a lifestyle channel designed to focus on gamers and gaming life. What's more, it will be happening sooner than expected. Deadline is reporting that due to the coronavirus upending a lot of plans, the network's founders have decided to push up the launch date for the network to take advantage of what is essentially a captive audience. The network will launch sometime in July 2020 with at least 30 hours of programming ready to go as we speak. According to Ariel Horn and Ben Kusin, the network will be ramping up out of their Playa Vista studio and soundstage but will be doing so in a careful manner with the COVID-19 restrictions in place. They also apparently have a studio set up in New York at the 2 World Trade Center, but it has yet to open up shop. Here's some added info on the network per Deadline.
"VENN stands for Videogame Entertainment and News Network. The duo, who are also co-CEOs, announced it in September of 2020 with $17 million in seed round funding from investors including Marc Merrill, co-founder of Riot Games, Mike Morhaime, co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, Kevin Lin, co-founder of Twitch, YuChiang Cheng, co-founder of World Golf Tour and President of Topgolf Media and others. Horn and Kusin said they've raised additional funds since and also brought in the Kroenke family, owner of the LA Rams as a backer. They've hired a CTO, Scott Gillies, formerly CTO for Vice and Red Bull Media. Aaron Godfred, formerly of Fullscreen and Omaze, will head programming. VENN brought on [the] former head of the VMAs, Jeff Jacobs. Kusin sees VENN scaling up to about 65 staff."
This is an amazing idea that couldn't have come at a better time. With gaming being at an all-time high in general, esports slowly conquering the world and looking for broadcast opportunities, and hundreds of personalities streaming daily, VENN has a chance of having a ton of content to roll with and not having to put a ton of effort behind it. That's not including coming up with original programming to fill the void that people have been wishing would come back for nearly a decade. The added fact that they stated they have no issue doing cross-promotion with platforms like Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube means they could end up being a viable media source in a very short time span if they play their cards right.