Monday, Disney announced plans to buy YouTube content producer Maker Studios for $US500 million.
That’s more than the company’s previous two ventures into the digital space.
Maker stands to gain another $US450 million from Disney if performance goals are met.
Why invest so much money in a multichannel network?
It’s all about the eyeballs.
The New York Times reports Maker receives 5.5 billion views per month across its approximately 55,000 YouTube channels.
Here’s a look at some of Maker Studio’s channels, subscription numbers, and viewers.
A collection of YouTube personalities’ original content.
A fashion and beauty channel
Hosts classic episodes of kid’s cartoons along with a few original shows.
The Mum’s View
Network for mothers who give parenting and do-it-yourself advice.
Consists of various cartoons from a variety of animators.
Some of Maker’s YouTube Personalities
Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg (aka PewdiePie)
25.3 million subscribers
3.9 billion views
The Swedish video game commentator holds the Guinness World Record for the most YouTube subscribers.
Tessa Violet (aka Meekakitty)
Kassem G (co-founder Maker Studios)
2.6 million subscribers
Maker Studios is also responsible for one of YouTube’s viral channels, Epic Rap Battles of History.
The video series, a collaboration of Nice Peter, epicLLOYD, Dave McCary, and Maker, consists of imaginary rap fights between popular cultural figures. Among the channel’s most popular spoof is a pretend battle between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
All together, Epic Rap Battles of History has received 904.3 million views.
How will this help Disney?
In the past, Maker Studios has worked with both Universal and Warner Bros. to help market and drive ticket sales for their films “Pitch Perfect” and “Pacific Rim,” respectively.
Maker held a contest for fans to participate in a music video with the cast of “Pitch Perfect” while putting together a month-long campaign for fans to create their own giant Jaeger robots for “Pacific Rim.”
“Pitch Perfect 2” is now slated for a May 2015 release. “Pacific Rim” took off at the international box office lending itself for another possible sequel.
This is one area where Maker is most interesting to Disney — to help the company integrate and market its upcoming studio slate.
“Maker brings to Disney a substantial digital audience, some of the biggest stars in the space and also a real understanding of how to manage big brands on YouTube,” Brent Weinstein of United Talent Agency’s digital media division, told The New York Times. “Look at what Maker has done for Epic Rap Battles and Snoop, and imagine what they can do for Iron Man, Mickey and Yoda.”
In addition to television and film promotion, Maker could lend itself to finding new original talent and content for Disney if it hopes to take off on YouTube.
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