Telecommunications giant AT&T has become the sole owner of Otter Media, having acquired the remainder of The Chernin Group’s controlling interest in the advertising and content company.
Otter Media was launched in 2014 as a joint venture between AT&T and The Chernin Group to invest in and develop platforms and properties that capitalized on the growth of direct-to-consumer subscription and advertising models, as well as the rise of new digital media brands. The company will now be folded into AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit, which was created with the approval of the merger between AT&T and Time Warner by a U.S. antitrust judge in June.
Tony Goncalves, who was appointed CEO of Otter Media earlier this year, will continue to run the company and will now report into WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey.
Though terms of the deal were not disclosed Tuesday (Aug. 7), The New York Times reports that analysts valued the deal at more than US$1 billion.
Otter’s assets include SVOD service Ellation, with offerings under the Crunchyroll and VRV brands; digital media company Fullscreen and its Rooster Teeth brand; global content studio Gunpowder & Sky; and Reese Witherspoon’s prodco Hello Sunshine.
“We are thrilled to incorporate the Otter Media brands and talent into WarnerMedia,” said Stankey in a statement. “Working with Tony, we look to harness Otter’s expertise in feeding the passion of online audiences to augment our portfolio of digital assets and help us further engage, connect and entertain consumers around the globe.”
Since its founding, Otter Media has built up a global audience of more than 93 million unique monthly viewers and has more than 2 million paying SVOD subscribers.
“The Chernin Group’s support and expertise has helped us expand Otter’s capabilities and refine our strategy over the past several years, and today’s news is a testament to our team’s dedication to super-serving passionate audiences across multiple platforms,” added Goncalves. “Otter’s digital-native talent pool understands that today’s viewers want their entertainment mobile, social and community-centric. We plan to harness Otter’s talent and scale to engage and entertain fans around the world on their own terms. And we will continue to be agile and nimble — a hallmark of Otter Media’s culture — so we can deliver the digital, social-first content that our audiences want.”