Fresh off the presses, AllThingsD first reported that Dreamworks Animation may acquire teen-focused MCN, Awesomeness TV. After speaking with sources close to the deal, VideoInk has confirmed from two separate parties that the rumors stand to be true. We could see a formal announcement in the coming days, possibly even at tonight’s YouTube Brandcast.
Based on a supposed valuation teetering around $30M, according to one source, the buyout marks a quick exit for the infant MCN which has generated over 500,000 subscribers since launching in June 2012. Headed by vet producer Brian Robbins, Awesomeness TV drummed up quite a stir just over six months ago when it locked $3.5M in funding from MK Capital and again at the top of 2013 when it announced Russell Simmons would be on board for a new urban vertical.
And while on the exterior this deal looks to be sizeable and an obvious fit (especially given DreamWorks Animation’s recent deal with Netflix to produce kids show “Turbo: F.A.S.T” and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s verbal commitment to make moves across platforms.), Dreamworks Animation is likely inheriting a business built on buzz rather than real revenues.
Awesomeness’ programming of note has included IMO — a View-like talk show hosted by tweens — and The Runaways, a teen drama, and while the network did receive funding from YouTube’s 100 Channels Initiative, they still have yet to see a breakout hit.
Awesomeness TV’s pending acquisition follows a slew of other big investments from Hollywood and major media companies including BDMI’s investement in StyleHaul, Fullscreen’s funding from Chernin and Comcast, and Time Warner’s investment in Maker Studios.
There’s clearly a lot of cash funneling into the online video industry but studios and networks looking to play in MCN land should take closer looks at the real businesses behind the media buzz.
Either way, no doubts this deal would allow all parties to walk away satisfied, but we predict the one walking away with the biggest win is Brian Robbins who cleverly netted a quick buyout. We are willing to bet we’ll see him return to his TV roots shortly.