President and CEO Michael Schwimmer used the call as an opportunity to plug Fuse’s growth across platforms. Linear ratings for viewers aged 18 to 34 increased 33% from 2016 to 2017, and the median age of viewers also decreased by two years. Total view time increased 22% and non-linear views gained 50%. Music remains the core element of Fuse’s DNA, driving a recent partnership with Hearst-Verizon joint venture Complex and informing much of the programming and marketing strategy.
“No other network focuses as exclusively on this underserved audience as we do,” he said. With legacy networks scrambling to retool for the digital age and OTT offerings “popping up like wildflowers,” Schwimmer argued that Fuse and its FM (Fuse Music) network are more nimble in meeting fickle millennial demand.
“Our strategy to entertain and engage young, multicultural millennials across all of our platforms has come together,” Schwimmer said in the company’s official announcement. “We’re bringing together research, practical experience and a talented team to deliver what this audience has told us they want: a place to see themselves, their passions and values on display, including through authentic, multiplatform access to their favorite music artists.”
The Hollywood Puppet Show returns for a second season on July 17. Classified as a scripted series, it consists of re-enactments with marionettes of stories told by celebrities. Season 2 will feature guests such as Marlon Wayans, Lilly Singh, Lil John and Meagan Good. The show is produced by Valderrama’s WV Entertainment and eOne.
New shows include Side Gig (working title) with T-Pain, chronicling the paths of young entrepreneurs, and Hip-Hop Houdini with Smoothini, featuring the street magician’s interactions with Iggy Azalea, A$AP Ferg and others. New docu-series The 212 follows six millennials in New York City’s music, fashion and art scenes, all looking to get noticed by major stars in the music world.
In 2014, Madison Square Garden sold Fuse for $275 million to SiTV Media, which went on to merge Hispanic-focused network NuvoTV into Fuse. Schwimmer then rebranded and relaunched Fuse Media as a company targeting “the multicultural, millennial audience of trendsetters and influencers that we are calling ‘New Young Americans.’”