"Gen Z and millennials is not a thing, they're two things," exclaimed AwesomenessTV CEO Brian Robbins during the multi-channel network's NewFronts presentation Wednesday evening. "These life stages—late teens who are breaking away from freedom vs. these young adult couples are very, very different."
And unlike most other digital players, AwesomenessTV puts more emphasis on reaching the teens and tweens of Gen Z. "They're loaded," he quipped, which came as a surprise to many in the audience at Tribeca's Spring Studios. "First of all, they have their parents money … just ask my kids." Robbins added that, unlike millennials who are only a few years out of college, Gen Zers don't have student loan debt.
To that end, AwesomenessTV will become the first to partner with messaging app Kik, launching a bot that combines native video and chat. In the near future, character bots will launch for AwesomenessTV's scripted series and films to deliver companion narratives, behind-the-scenes features and alternative endings driven by audience participation.
They also recently launched on Apple TV and will triple the amount of premium content on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
AwesomenessTV is also working with a pair of technology companies to help brands reach Gen Z on those myriad platforms. "That private screen has become a personal concierge for an experience that is uniquely their own," said Robbins of Gen Z's mobile attachment.
With video-data company ZEFR, AwesomenessTV will launch "Signal," a content and multiplatform distribution program that will enable custom content to be distributed via advertising across multiple platforms. AwesomenessTV is also using Brightline's proprietary technology for dynamic ad insertion for connected TVs and over-the-top platforms.
"We are matching our storytelling prowess with innovative technology partnerships that will enable our brand partners to hyper target the hard to reach Gen Z audience wherever they are found," added Brett Bouttier, president AwesomenessTV.
AwesomenessTV also announced new seasons for Royal Crush and Guidance, and a new series for Verizon's go90, t@gged, which has already been greenlit for a second season. Verizon acquired a 24.5 percent stake in AwesomenessTV last month. The MCN is also collaborating with Major League Baseball, which has been trying to appeal to younger viewers, on a scripted series.
But the best announcement of the night was not actually an announcement at all. Noting that nearly every NewFronts presenter during the last eight days has announced some kind of virtual reality play, Robbins exclaimed that they would not be making any VR announcements, which drew a good laugh from the crowd.