Hearst buys quarter stake of MCN AwesomenessTV from DreamWorks

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 12 December 2014

In a deal which clearly shows the potential of the leading YouTube multichannel networks, Hearst has acquired a 25% interest in multi-platform media company AwesomenessTV (ATV) in a deal valued at $81.25 million.

To put the deal into its starkest context, nearly a year ago DreamWorks Animation acquired ATV for $33 million. "Few companies have built the global audience of millennial females as quickly as AwesomenessTV," commented Hearst president and CEO Steven R Swartz. "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."

In just two years, AwesomenessTV has grown into one of the Web's biggest MCNs with an average of nearly 800 million monthly views and a subscriber base that now totals over 114 million. Its top YouTube channels — including Corelli, Miss Glamorazzi, Tyler Oakley, Cameron Dallas and Nash Grier — claim millions of viewers in the millennial demographic. Talent management company Big Frame, Awesomeness Consumer Products, Awesomeness Music and Awesomeness Ink are also under the AwesomenessTV umbrella.

Brian Robbins, ATV founder, and Brett Bouttier, president, will continue to lead ATV, supported by DreamWorks and Hearst, and work together to lead a charge into new content channels. The intention is to broaden ATV's audience and expand its geographic reach. Under the agreement, ATV will gain immediate access to Hearst's subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) technology, in order to accelerate ATV's ability to offer content directly to consumers across all types of formats.

"This is an extremely exciting partnership for AwesomenessTV and DreamWorks as we continue to implement our long-term strategy to maximise the value of our content and properties through multiple distribution platforms," said Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive officer of DreamWorks Animation. "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."