AT&T has been associated with the telephone since its inception. The company dates back to the 1800s and its name is suggestive of that reality: American Telephone and Telegraph Company. But the company - like its competitors Time Warner and Comcast - has expanded into cable, internet, and media, and recently announced the launch of a new digital initiative in partnership with Fullscreen called AT&T Hello Lab.
The project will showcase 10 Internet stars with a presence across a number of different platforms. Fullscreen, which also expanded from an MCN into a full-fledged media company, is owned in part by AT&T and the media mogul, Peter Chernin.
Hello Lab will feature stars like YouTubers Grace Helbig, Damon and Jo, and Collins Key along with Instagram comedian Brandon Armstrong and Snapchat star Shaun McBride. The project will have five shows over the course of the year, including a travel show (which will be first) that allows the audience to closely collaborate with the show’s creators.
The launch follows other initiatives by AT&T to build its digital footprint. Its YouTube-based reality series, SummerBreak, is now in its fourth season and has over 150 million views while its Snapchat series, SnapperHero, was able to gain 186k followers in less than three months.
Last year, AT&T completed the purchase of DirecTV, and has worked to incorporate the satellite company into its other business units; it makes sense that AT&T would move into content creation as well.
The decision to partner with these specific creators also makes sense: their followers are predominantly across YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, and Instagram, and AT&T can capture a millennial audience who will make up their subscriber base for many years to come.