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The video-gaming network that’ll have you yelling, ‘I want my VENN TV’

How Ariel Horn and Ben Kusin are creating the decentralized TV network of the future, today.

The video-gaming network that’ll have you yelling, ‘I want my VENN TV’
[Photos: Colin Young-Wolff]
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Ben Kusin, a former marketer at Electronic Arts, and esports executive Ariel Horn created an MTV-like entertainment destination for gamers last August, replete with a Total Request Live-like show, signing a lease in a high-profile building (the World Trade Center), and planning for fans to “come face-to-face with creators,” says Kusin, who is both a cofounder and co-CEO with Horn.

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Most of the original programming, live events, and licensed content on their Video Game Entertainment and News Network (VENN) lives wherever gamers congregate, from Twitch to Roku, and Vizio to YouTube and Instagram—with tailored content for each space. Live tournament videos (produced with esports company Blast) can drive over 80 million views in a single weekend. VENN’s signature program, Dare Package—where gamers compete in a “disgusting, brain-melting” dare—generated 30,000 concurrent Twitch streams its first episode. This mix of “ubiquitous distribution,” Kusin says, and “a different core strategy for each platform” translated into over 29 million unique viewers for live broadcasts everywhere VENN played in its first nine months.

Read more about Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 2021

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About the author

Nicole LaPorte is an LA-based senior writer for Fast Company who writes about where technology and entertainment intersect. She previously was a columnist for The New York Times and a staff writer for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and Variety

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