Hearst Buys 25% Stake in AwesomenessTV for $81M

/ Dec 11, 2014


Hearst has acquired a 25% stake in teen-focused YouTube network AwesomenessTV from DreamWorks Animation for $81.25 million.

DreamWorks and Hearst say they will now work together to grow the ATV brand, especially as it seeks to build “new content channels.”

Specifically, this means AwesomenessTV is also interested in a SVOD play — just like fellow MCN giant Fullscreen. Per the deal, AwesomenessTV will now have access to Hearst’s SVOD technology, which the company most recently used to launch the fitness-themed CosmoBody channel. Hearst’s technology, the companies said, will allow ATV to “offer content directly to consumers across all types of formats.”

DreamWorks and Hearst will also partner to continue growing ATV’s global audience.

These companies have an existing relationship, having partnered to launch the Seventeen YouTube channel and MCN last fall.

“Few companies have built the global audience of millennial females as quickly as AwesomenessTV,” said Steven R. Swartz, president and CEO of Hearst Corporation, in a statement. “For us, it’s very important to make a bet on the future of how content is created. Together, in partnership with DreamWorks, we see great opportunity in supporting the consumer media franchise that AwesomenessTV continues to build.”

“We’re delighted with the opportunity to partner with Hearst, in part because it has outstanding global brands, a very valuable international presence and industry-leading technology, and also because of its demonstrated track record of successfully partnering with media companies and supporting their growth trajectories,” added DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. (In other words: Look at Hearst’s minority stake in pay-TV giant ESPN.)

ATV founder Brian Robbins and president Brett Bouttier will continue to run the company.

Since its launch in 2013, AwesomenessTV has grown its network to more than 114 million subscribers. Top talent include the music group Cimorelli, beauty guru Miss Glamorazzi, vlogger Tyler Oakley, and Vine stars Cameron Dallas and Nash Grier. Earlier this year, the company acquired fellow YouTube network Big Frame, with the goal of using it as a full-service talent agency for digital creators.

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