With MIPTV and the second annual MIP Digital Fronts a few weeks away (you can register here!), VideoInk reached out to a diverse lineup of influential video industry executives scheduled to present or appear at the event. Our conversations covered their individual businesses, plans for MIPTV and the Fronts, and the video business as a whole. You can access them all here. Enjoy!
Life is good for Brian Robbins, the founder and CEO of AwesomenessTV. In the past few months alone, the company welcomed one of the biggest media companies on the planet, Hearst, as a minority owner, and cut a deal with another giant media company, Verizon, to launch over-the-top video channels for Verizon’s upcoming mobile-focused pay-TV service.
And that’s not all. Since the company’s landmark acquisition by DreamWorks Animation, it has built a profitable business that includes digital and film/TV production, a YouTube MCN, talent management, a music label, publishing, retail, and more.
Now, with Robbins and AwesomenessTV headed to the MIP Digital Fronts, where he will be honored with 2015 Pioneer Prize, we sat down with the executive on where his company is and where it wants to go.
AwesomenessTV just made a huge announcement to launch two over-the-top channels with Verizon, which comes on the heels of selling a minority stake to Hearst Corp. Both are traditional media giants; what’s the appeal/value in those partnerships?
Both Verizon and Hearst are very forward thinking companies, which is why we are in business with both of them. With Verizon we had an incredible opportunity to expand the audience for both AwesomenessTV and DreamWorksTV. Mobile is where our audience lives so working with Verizon lets us introduce our programming and talent to their massive customer base.
Hearst has a strong track record of identifying emerging media companies and trends, not to mention deep industry and creative experience, which is important as we positioning our company for future growth.
Over-the-top is a huge focus for AwesomenessTV in 2015. Initially, you’re launching OTT channels in the US with Verizon. Are there plans to introduce similar offerings internationally?
We’re not prepared to talk specifics but global distribution is a high priority for AwesomenessTV.
The MIP Digital Fronts want to establish an international marketplace for digital content. What’s the appeal for AwesomenessTV to present there?
The MIP Digital Fronts will give us an opportunity to introduce the international marketplace to the AwesomenessTV brand and how we are super serving the Gen-Z and the young millennial audience. Because our YouTube channel is global, the audience already knows who we are.
AwesomenessTV has a talent management business; a YouTube network business; an e-
commerce and merchandising business; a film and TV production business; is there anything left?
You left out retail, publishing, and music. We’re in all the businesses that make sense for a brand that focuses on teens and young millennials.
What’s your core focus for the next couple of years?
We will continue to build the AwesomenessTV brand. In addition to taking advantage of new distribution platforms for our content, we will be focused on building businesses around the brand.
What’s next is the growing clout of this new generation of content creators — YouTube and Vine stars — who have developed an audience around self-produced video and can now transport that audience to other projects, whether it’s a film, television show, book, or piece of branded entertainment.