Verizon's media unit puts its next-generation mobile network in the spotlight at its presentation to New York video advertisers.
Verizon, which dedicated much of its CES keynote to 5G in January, brought a message about the next-gen network to advertisers in New York. Angela Lang/CNET
It's that time of year in New York, when digital media companies put on "Newfronts," splashy presentations for video advertisers. Usually, it's a chance for services like Hulu and YouTube to impress marketers with their buzzy new shows and trot out their highest-wattage talent.
Verizon, which bought digital media properties through its acquisition of AOL in 2015 and Yahoo in 2017, has been a staple of the Newfronts in past years via those media-focused units. But under its new banner of Verizon Media, the company put a 5G-heavy spin on its announcements Tuesday, emphasizing how the next-generation mobile network could be transformative for video advertising.
Tuesday, Verizon unveiled Hypezilla, a motion-capture animated purple gorilla creature that can pitch products for people to virtually "try" in augmented reality. Hypezilla will be the emcee of this interactive video series that'll be available on the Yahoo Play app. Hypezilla's motion capture acting is being created in Verizon's 5G-based video studio in Los Angeles, run by the company's edgy video unit Ryot.
Video: We tested Verizon's new 5G network
Verizon also introduced what it called an "extended-reality" partnership program with news outlets like USA Today, Reuters, the Associated Press, Time and Now This, which'll give the journalism groups access to the technology at the company's 5G Labs and 5G Studio. The idea is for the outlets to experiment with immersive journalism and distribute the new formats on Yahoo News.
The company also touted a traditional documentary film it would help release, a movie called 5B (note: 5B is unrelated to 5G) about nurses at the San Francisco General Hospital ward that treated early patients with AIDS and HIV. In addition, Yahoo Sports will be extending its NFL streaming rights into the Yahoo Fantasy Football mobile app for the first time, Verizon said, among other announcements.