TV network for esports heads to LA and New York

October 14, 2019

In the ’90s, if you wanted to get a pulse on latest trends among young people, you would tune into MTV’s “Total Request Live.”

The show counted down the most popular music videos, and legions of screaming fans would gather outside of MTV’s studios to get a glimpse of their favorite celebrities.

Now VENN, a startup led by an Emmy-winning producer and a former Vivendi Games executive, hopes to create its own version of that for video game fans.

VENN, which has raised $17 million, plans to open studios in Los Angeles and New York next year. The company says it will create 55 hours of content each week, including programs that involve video game competitions. VENN, which stands for Video Game Entertainment & News Network, will distribute its shows on streaming services including Twitch, YouTube and Hulu TV.

“Back in the ’80s and ’90s, the lens to pop culture was music,” said Ariel Horn, a former executive with Riot Games and NBC Universal. “Now, we’re looking at gaming. The esports athletes are the new celebrities.”

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