DEW 2015: Expect More Maker Studios-Made Disney Videos in 2015

/ Feb 10, 2015

ynon kreiz maker studios

When Maker Studios first engaged in acquisition talks with Disney, its YouTube network was doing 4 billion views per month; that number grew to 5.5 billion when the deal closed and now stands at over 11.5 billion — and yet, almost a year after the acquisition, very little of that viewership can be attributed to content produced by Maker or its network on behalf of Disney.

Expect that to change in 2015, according to Maker Studios president Ynon Kreiz. Speaking during a session at the annual Digital Entertainment World expo in Los Angeles, Kreiz said, going forward, more videos from Maker and its network will make use of characters and assets owned by Disney, including those from Lucasfilm, Marvel, and Pixar. “We expect to activate the great IP from the House of Disney,” said Kreiz.

Disney’s acquisition of Maker Studios has long been questioned by people in both traditional and media circles. Why is Disney willing to spend as much as $950 million on an unproven business model (YouTube multi-channel networks)?

Disney CEO Bob Iger has previously said that the entertainment giant sees a great marketing opportunity via short-form video content, which is an area that Disney does not have endemic expertise in. Maker — whose network offers more than 55,000 “short-form” creators — does.

Kreiz echoed those sentiments during his session. “Short-form is not just long-form that’s shorter; short-form is a different area of expertise,” he said. Maker Studios is now the “center of excellence” in this area for all of Disney. “We are working with all Disney divisions to extend their activities into short form.”

To date, the few Maker-Disney collaborations that exist include videos like this (short) Lego-based promo for Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The video, which was created by ForrestFire101 for the film’s premiere, has accumulated over 1.6 million views.

Disney also recently invited a group of Maker creators to spend a few days at Disney World as part of a creator conference. There, alongside presentations and seminars on how to succeed on the web, they were also allowed to use the characters and settings of the park to create videos.

Helping Disney build its short-form video profile is one of two prime initiatives for Maker — the other being the continued growth of its network, said Kreiz. The latter is likely to support the former, as Maker makes use of different Disney IP, products, services, and other assets to drive more viewership in an area the media giant doesn’t have a huge presence in.

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