VENN

If you have been listening to the W.I.N podcast lately you are aware of both the VENN Corner segment and my uncontainable hype over the impending launch of VENN. The Video Game Entertainment and News Network that is the spiritual successor (in my eyes at least) to G4, which launched in April of 2002 and died in 2014. After G4 properly shut down in 2012 I was lost as the channel was a big part of my youth.

First I got into the channel during the summer of 2007. The E3 specials specifically. I remember watching Attack of the Show, X-Play, Cheat, and Icons. It appears however that in my memories I recall watching Judgment Day, Electric Playground, and Filter during the mid-2000s. It was my love of G4 that helped me cope with my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. It was also my love of G4 that helped me become friends with people through the G4 Stickam chats every Friday after Attack of the Show.

It also helped me become friends with Joel Gourdin who hosted the “gaming update” segment on X-Play. It was through Joel that I met people online playing Halo 3 multiplayer. It was through Joel that I got my first opportunity writing on a website that wasn’t a wordpress blog. When I was in my Junior and Senior years of high school, both Adam Sessler and Kevin Pereria would leave the network and I just tuned out both figuratively and literally.

While I was dealing with the fallout of Hurricane Sandy I saw that the only two “originals” left (X-Play/Attack of the Show) would be canceled. While I was sad at the news I was more troubled by the loss of 98% of my possessions. With it gone I was unsure if there would ever be another channel targeting the “gamer” demographic but lo and behold I discovered an article for VENN and I thought to myself that there would be a chance to correct what G4 got wrong.

What Is VENN?

Here is the about section pertaining to what VENN is: *”VENN is a new kind of TV network for the streaming generation, aimed at gaming, pop culture, and esports audiences. Beta launching August 2020 live from Los Angeles, and later Three World Trade Center in New York, VENN will be distributed across a broad range of media platforms and offer original programming produced in-house and in partnership with some of the biggest names and creators across industries.”

Originally the channel was set to launch this month but then the pandemic changed everything. Emanating live from its Los Angeles studio is still unknown to me as all that is coming from the official VENN Twitter account are teaser images that you can see here.

The Big Two of the Network

G4 was owned by Comcast and due to the reach of Comcast not being as big as it is today, G4 suffered. The only shows of the original thirteen to make it past the TechTV merger were Electric Playground, Judgment Day, Cheat, Icons, and Filter. Soon after this point in time, Electric Playground and Judgment Day would be canceled and Cheat, Icons, and Filter would be re-formatted and even then, they weren’t long for the future of the channel.

During the channel’s lifespan, there were two eras: from the launch of the channel in 2002 to after the TechTV merger era spearheaded by Charles Hirschorn. When Charles left, Neal Tiles came in who in my point of view was trying to repair the channel. He had a presence on the G4tv.com message boards and I personally left a comment as to why there were too many non-gaming shows on the channel. He responded something along the lines of needing the financial gains that say a “COPS” or “Cheaters” could bring in.

This eventually saw the debut of new shows such as Human Wrecking Balls, G4 Underground, and G4 Proving Ground. Despite the influx of new shows, it seemed that things weren’t going to get better as Sessler and Pereira left the channel and after Neal Tiles resigned and the writing was on the wall for G4.

Emmy’s and Marketing Giants

VENN however, has two co-founders that are more versed in video game media in my opinion: Ariel Horn and Ben Kusin. Horn is a former member of NBC Sports and while he was at it he nabbed four Emmys while being a big player in ESports which I am assuming will be a significant part of the channel. Kusin on the other hand has worked in marketing for many of the big games over the past decade.

*“Video games continue to define the culture of today’s youth. Streamers, casters, content creators, esports athletes – these are our new celebrities.” –

These words said by Kusin give a hint (to me, at least) of what the programming will look like on VENN once it officially launches. The official web site goes on to say “VENN will be distributed across a broad range of media platforms and offer original programming produced in-house and in partnership with some of the biggest names and creators across industries.” This could also be a big win for content creators who have turned to Patreon as YouTube continues to try to be a cable television network and that’s something it clearly isn’t. Speaking of YouTube, VENN will be streaming on YouTube and Twitch as well as deals made with YouTube TV, Sling, and Pluto TV.

As for what will be the end result of VENN when it goes into Beta next month? Only time will tell. But what I will say now to prevent myself saying anything negative in the future: you can hype something up for a long time and make it a near Herculean and when it’s not what was expected, you can turn against it.

*All quotes taken from the official VENN website.

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UPDATE: 7/9/20

VENN’s first batch of programming was announced on Twitter ahead of its August 5th Beta launch. Five shows have been announced with more to be revealed next week. So far reactions have been mixed to negative.

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Gotta ac-CENTU-Ate the positives.

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