As wireless and fixed-line broadband subscriber growth slows, Verizon has made it very clear it wants to expand into flinging ads at Millennials. That was made abundantly clear after Verizon paid $4.4 billion for AOL, began using “zombie cookies,” launched its own Millennial-focused streaming service, and became the leading bidder for flailing Yahoo. And Verizon’s decision to buy its way into the advertising market shows no sign of slowing down, with the company’s announcement that it’s acquiring Complex media in a deal estimated to be worth around $250 million and $300 million.
Complex was founded in 2002 by Mark Ecko as a brand built specifically to pitch ads to a young, predominately male audience.
The decision to acquire Complex is certainly a continuation of our media strategy, which is focused on disruption that is occurring in digital media and content distribution, and involves building a portfolio of the emerging digital brands of the future for the millennial and Gen-Z audience, said Brian Angiolet, Verizon s senior vice president of consumer product and marketing.
Verizon’s acquisition spree continues while some bigger content brands like Mashable and Buzzfeed have signaled that all is not well in content land, as hundreds of layoffs have hit a sector that hasn’t quite figured out how to profit off of Millennials just yet.
That Verizon is convinced it has the secret sauce to accomplish this is a risky bet for a company that has all but frozen its interest in upgrading fixed-line broadband in most areas. Indications are that Verizon’s primary Millennial-bait service Go90 isn’t faring all that well even with the company giving out additional wireless data allotments — and zero rating the service.
Whether Verizon can actually make a go of this transition should be interesting to watch. Flexibility, innovation and style aren’t exactly the kind of ideas people associate with a phone company that has spent the better part of several generations focused almost exclusively on turf protection and lobbying.