Soon there will be a new dedicated esports channel for fans to watch as VENN (Video Game Entertainment and News Network) announced that it has raised a total of $17 million dollars in seed funding to launch its new channel in 2020.
Expected to compete with the likes of Cheddar and ESL, the new company was co-founded by Ariel Horn, a decorated, four-time Emmy-winning producer, and successful business entrepreneur and former Global Director of New Media at Vivendi Games, Ben Kusin.
The acquisition of Horn, in particular, should have esports fans excited for the start of the new VENN channel. Horn, as the global head of esports at Riot Games a few years back, landed one of his quartet of Emmy’s for his work on the 2017 League of Legends Worlds, which took place in China that year.
What will VENN offer customers?
Speaking about the new channel, the co-founders revealed that their plan was for VENN to become a “universal network” that seamlessly blended esports events with other forms of popular culture, such as reality shows, documentaries and even game shows.
Speaking about the launch, Kusin stated:
“You have this $150 billion-a-year industry that has no TV network.
“We [VENN] are a universal network – that means we will be distributed and consumed anywhere our audience is consuming gaming content.”
It is thought that the plan for the company will be for its channel to be hosted on a number of popular esports streaming platforms including YouTube, Roku, Sling, Apple TV, Microsoft’s Mixer and Twitch.
The plan is that VENN will also provide 24/7 programming, with 55 hours of original programming each week and that this output will come from two studios, one based in Los Angeles and the other on the east coast in New York.
Support from within the esports industry
Of those that have contributed to the $17 million in seeding money to start VENN are a number of key figures from within the esports and gaming industry. Kevin Lin (co-founder of Twitch), Mike Morhaime (co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment) and Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill are just three of a number of investors who have put their money on the new channel gaining a strong following within the esports and broader online community.
Speaking about the new channel, Ariel Horn stated:
“We can see that gaming is having a moment. We can tell there’s this incredible groundswell around gaming and awareness is at an all-time high.”
“We’ve been polishing our craft on global stages for years while dreaming up new ways to create memorable esports broadcast experiences,” Horn stated in a statement to the press.
“VENN will bring together the best and brightest talent to apply the same creativity and big-picture thinking to greater gaming and entertainment content, building a bridge from our industry into the world that surrounds it.”
As yet, there is no official release date for VENN, though it is expected to start broadcasting at some point in early 2020.