FremantleMedia Wants in on the MCN Business

/ Sep 30, 2013


When Maker Studios bought Blip, there was an increase in chatter about whether the online video industry was finally, maybe, consolidating. After all, this year has been headlined by DreamWorks Animation’s acquisition of AwesomenessTV — a topic so evergreen that it was apparently still worth talking about during Advertising Week in NY. Beyond that landmark deal, it’s been said that every major MCN is out looking for a buyer. Some have flatly denied it, while others remain mum on the topic.

When we spoke with multiple executives within MCN-land about recent and potential future acquisitions in the space, the name FremantleMedia kept on popping up. Apparently, the producer of reality-TV hits like “American Idol” and “The X Factor” wants one of the big fishes on YouTube. In fact, it’s common knowledge that Fremantle was “very” interested in buying AwesomenessTV before DreamWorks swooped in and closed the deal.

After it lost out on the teen- and tween-centric network, Fremantle has been looking elsewhere, and looking to move “aggressively,” according to multiple industry executives with ties to Fremantle. In fact, VideoInk has learned that Fremantle recently sat down with the team behind Collective Digital Studio to talk a potential investment or acquisition. It’s not clear how far those talks went, or if they are still ongoing, though we can confirm that they took place before last week’s announcement that Fremantle was making an investment in Divimove, the second-largest MCN in Germany.

Separately, an industry source tells us that Collective has also received interest from the likes of Universal and News Corp., though those discussions appear to be exploratory at best.

In any case, it doesn’t seem like Fremantle is finished with its MCN aspirations, even after the Divimove investment. Internally, via The Pet Collective property, Fremantle is already building an owned-and-operated niche MCN. Judging by the speculation about the company, it seems Fremantle is more interested in building an MCN empire.

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