Disney Buys Maker Studios, Owner of YouTube MCNs Polaris and RPM
YouTube isn’t going away any time soon if big corporations have anything to say about it. The latest proof of that is Disney buying one of YouTube’s largest multichannel network owners, Maker Studios. The owner of such prominent MCNs as Polaris, Maker Music and RPM was purchased by Disney for $500 million.
The deal was announced on Monday after trading closed on the New York Stock Exchange. In addition to the $500 million price, the deal includes a performance-based bonus of up to $450 million.
Disney’s plan is to leverage Maker’s expertise in producing and promoting short-form video content to improve Disney’s own short-form video programming online. Basically, as people watch more and more videos on YouTube, Disney is getting one of the best in the business at drawing those views to help them connect with that audience.
Maker Studios boasts 380 million subscribers and 5.5 billion monthly video views across all the channels affiliated under its various brands. They also represent several popular YouTube channels including PewDiePie who has the most subscribed to channel on YouTube (for better or worse).
Disney isn’t the first entertainment studio to make an investment in an online presence. Earlier this month, Warner Bros. bought an $18 million stake in gaming MCN Machinima. They’ve also suffered a decline in viewership (a 50% drop between October 2012 to October 2013) and recently cut 30% of its staff which explains the lower value than the larger Maker group of channels.
In 2013, DreamWorks Animation bought the AwesomenessTV MCN for $33 million with a performance-based escalator that could see an additional $117 million bonus added to the purchase price.
The most interesting thing will be how the new relationship with Disney affects content on various Maker Studios channels. It would be in poor form for Maker to say that personalities can no longer criticize any Disney products, be it video games, Marvel comics, movies, terrible ABC reality shows and so on. I’m sure we’ll hear more about how the deal affect Maker channels in the very near future.