More Awesomeness, As It Acquires YouTube MCN Big Frame

AwesomenessTV, the multichannel YouTube outfit acquired last year by DreamWorks Animation, is acquiring Big Frame, another YouTube network of more than 300 channels, which calls itself a pioneer in “influencer management,” for $15 million.

Together, the entities claim they will reach 80 million subscribers and amass nearly 1 billion views a month.

The deal comes just a week or so after the Walt Disney Co. paid $500 million to acquire another major YouTube multichannel network Maker Studios, indicating rather dramatically a growing interest by big media companies.

Like a lot of YouTube channels subscribed to by younger users, Big Frame videos are personality-driven, quirky and intimate. Its hosts are not so far from being akin to radio personalities, who speak seemingly without scripts, about whatever is happening in their lives at the moment.

Often, in fact, they talk about being YouTube hosts, and malfunctioning audio and video equipment, which is what’s happening at the moment. It’s not without its charms. YouTube’s do-it-yourself nature makes it easy to become enamored by hosts who can chattily confess their struggles to succeed. It’s also a pretty spot-on topic for youth and young adult audiences.   

Big Frame top names include fanboy Tyler Oakley, WhezyWaiter Craig Benzine and Joe Penna, better known as MysteryGuitarMan, who is married to Sarah Penna, a former reality show producer and talent manager who early on recognized the power of YouTube. She’s the top creative executive at Big Frame and co-founder along with Steve Raymond, the CEO.

“With AwesomenessTV committed to aggressive growth, the acquisition of Big Frame enables us to bring on expertise in talent development as well as a great group of YouTube stars,” said AwesomenessTV COO Brett Bouttier, in a canned comment. 

Big Frame’s Raymond touted his Big Frame’s “unique ability to build online communities” and said the combination with Awesomeness and DreamWorks will be “a winning formula for the next stage of the entertainment industry's evolution.”

In the latest WhezyWaiter video, Benzine could have been talking about the Big Frame Awesomeness deal as he discussed how big media companies swallow up smaller ones and how a growing YouTube constellation of personalities is multiplying competition.

 “Back when YouTube started, it was a smaller field,” WhezyWaiter told the audience, with feigned exasperation. “People could just fall off a table, and they would be huge celebrities. Nowadays, there are people falling off tables and I don’t even know about it. That’s a tragedy.”

Another major YouTube player, Machinima, just got an $18 million buy-in from Warner Bros., and a new CEO, Chad Gutstein, former COO of Ovation, the cable channel. Earlier this week, he pledged to amp up Machinima’s apps and other platform developments. Machinima is among the YouTube multichannel networks that complain they get a raw deal from YouTube and threaten to start their own separate sites.    

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