Complex Networks Is Emphasizing Its Pivot Toward Video Production to Its Advertisers

6 key brands are producing short- and long-form video

Popular series from Complex Networks focus on topics from music to sneaker culture.
YouTube: Complex

After Verizon Communications Inc. and Hearst Corp. (Verizon Hearst Media Partners) acquired Complex Networks last year, Complex finally had the funds to fully invest in its video products—and gained the go90 platform for video distribution.

Complex wants to explain to advertisers about its plan for its core set of networks/brands and its full commitment to video production.

Complex Networks’ plan, which it set in place in January, focuses on six key brands: Complex, Rated Red, First We Feast, Pigeons & Planes, Sole Collector, and Collider. According to Shawn Strickland, the evp of development and distribution, each one serves a different aspect of youth culture.

The way Strickland sees it, distribution is more fragmented than ever thanks to social media platforms, and what fans are looking for is a personal connection with publishers.

“If people come across us on Facebook or on Snapchat Discover, they should know what to expect,” Strickland told Adweek.

Complex now has 14 regular weekly shows across its brands and plans on launching another eight shows in the next eight weeks, for a total of 40 original short-form productions. Complex Networks sees over 810 million video views a month across all of its channels.

The publishing collective is currently looking for further distribution platforms; Complex Networks receive over 3 billion monthly social impressions from it’s owned and operated properties and its social media accounts.

“We’re assuring the quality of our output and breaking through in the digital landscape with what we’re producing and who we’re choosing to produce that with,” said Strickland.

Complex Networks is announcing two more seasons of its docuseries QB1: Beyond the Lights from director Peter Berg, who worked on Friday Night Lights, on go90.

New series announced from Complex today include Jeremiah Bullfrog Forks It!, an unscripted series on go90 starting in May that follows chef Jeremiah Bullfrog as he “swaggers his way” through iconic American cities. Complex Closets is a series coming to Complex’s website looking into the closets and collections of celebrities and pop culture personalities.

Complex will also reboot its series The Neighborhood which takes famous musicians, athletes, fashion icons and entertainers back to their hometowns.

Rated Red is announcing a scripted series called Play By Play which follows a present-day sportscaster as he narrates his adolescence. An unscripted series, A Little Too Farr, will debut on go90 and follows country musician Tyler Farr’s life both off and on the road. Going Cambo, another series premiering on go90, shows what life is like as a survivalist in Alabama.

Throttle Rockets, a show that “makes dreams come true for scooter enthusiasts,” will air on go90 in May.

Rated Red Documentaries will continue to highlight the long-form untold stories with The Infidels, the story of a group of war veterans coping with civilian life.

Additionally, Unsigned is coming to Rated Red’s website which features some of the hottest music stars flying under the radar.

First We Feast is announcing Food Grails, a food and travel show that explores emerging food cultures across the country and hyper-regional specialties.

And Sole Collector is announcing Price the Hype, the world’s first sneaker game show that will test fanatics to see if they can correctly guess the prices of the most sought after collector’s items.

“Our production teams are looking at projects from the perspective of cultural relevance,” said Strickland. “Complex’s credibility spans the gamut of fandoms, from music to sneaker culture, and we’ve made a commitment to making video the platform of the future.”