Hearst buys 25% stake in AwesomenessTV

Hearst Corporation has acquired a 25% stake in DreamWorks Animation's multi-platform media company AwesomenessTV for US$81.25 million.
December 12, 2014

Hearst Corporation has acquired a 25% stake in DreamWorks Animation’s multi-platform media company AwesomenessTV for US$81.25 million.

Founder Brian Robbins and president Brett Bouttier will continue to lead AwesomenessTV.

According to a statement, AwesomenessTV gains immediate access to Hearst’s “subscription video-on-demand services.” In June, Hearst launched a $9.95-per-month video network called CosmoBody.

DreamWorks bought AwesomenessTV outright in May 2013 for $33 million, and the Hearst deal values the multi-channel network at a $325 million.

There have been a flurry of merger and acquisitions rumors swirling around the animation studio in recent months. It was recently reported that DreamWorks was to be bought by Hasbro in a deal that would spin off the MCN business to Hearst. But the Hasbro deal was ultimately voted down by the toymaker’s board of directors. In September, Tokyo-based telecommunications giant SoftBank Corp. was in discussions to acquire DreamWorks Animation.

“Brian Robbins and Brett Bouttier are democratizing media by enabling young talent to create their own content, be discovered by their peers and then be showcased across AwesomenessTV’s network of channels, as well as television shows and even movies,” said Neeraj Khemlani, co-president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication and president of Hearst Digital Studios, in a statement.

Awesomeness’s YouTube lineup includes channels from  digital stars such as Cimorelli, Ingrid Nilsen (MissGlamorazzi), Tyler Oakley, Cameron Dallas and Nash Grier. It also has the talent management company Big Frame, a record company, Awesomeness Music, and a publishing arm, Awesomeness Ink. Its consumer products division launched the clothing line So Rad in Kohl’s stores September and opened its first retail outlet in Los Angeles last month.

“Few companies have built the global audience of millennial females as quickly as AwesomenessTV,” said Steven R. Swartz, president and CEO of Hearst Corporation, in a statement.

AwesomenessTV has also produced the live-action TV series adaptation of the comic book Richie Rich, debuting on Netflix in early 2015, and films Expelled, opening in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas on Friday, and The Smosh Movie, the latter in partnership with Defy Media.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.