Fullscreen And Nearly 4 Billion Monthly Views Seem Headed For Chernin/AT&T

If you go on Fullscreen’s corporate Website, the stats will be right there in front of your eyeballs:

--3,723,136,314 views this month;

--71,190,179 comments/likes/shares this month;

--and 431,061,304 subscribers

While we’re tossing around big numbers , throw in the $200 million to $300 million that Otter Media, Peter Chernin’s joint venture with AT&T is reportedly paying to buy Fullscreen, according to Re/Code and other reports.

To some degree, Chernin is paying himself because The Chernin Group, Comcast and WPP  invested around $30 million in Fullscreen last summer, again according to reports back then.

And back then, TechCrunch reported, Fullscreen had more than 10,000 YouTube channels, and 150 million subscribers and generated 2.5 billion views a month.

That was 13 months ago, so in that relatively short time frame, it has gained more than 1.2 billion views a month, more than 180 million more subscribers, and possibly 5,000 more channels.    

But who is counting?

Online video viewership, which tends to be measured in billions, is an amazing thing.  Despite neat fan conventions that draw thousands of worshippers, it’s still true that hundreds of millions of Americans, and many ad agencies and brands, couldn’t name a Fullscreen personality or Fullscreen YouTube channel if their lives depended on it. You don’t know Fullscreen’s own Jack Vale, maker of the “Fart and Run” series, do you?  (He has over 1 million subscribers.)

All those tiny, nutty videos may represent the glory of the Internet and YouTube, and that impossible volume may be why there is programmatic buying.

But that may also be why advertisers might seem leery to be there, when, well, there appears to be no there there.  Or there is a there, and it’s farting.

Certainly, Fullscreen is obliging to the advertisers that pay the freight.  Channel Takeover lets an advertiser do just that. For Custom Content, a Fullscreener named sWooZie worked with Toyota so that the focus of an episode included a 2014 Toyota Corolla simulator to have fun in.     

It’s all good. Fullscreen is dedicated to teens, “the first media company for the connected generation” as it calls itself.  I haven’t watched all 15,000 channels, but it seems it does a pretty good job at it and certainly it seems enticing to Otter Media, which as the corporate name hints, is going fast, forward toward owning beachfront footage in the OTT world, where, possibly, it can cherry pick its channels to create just a few good ones. (Hats off to the person who cooked up "Otter Media," by the way. Beyond the OTT connection it combines parts of Peter and AT&T in one moniker. Well played!)

The Chernin Group and AT&T have dedicated up to $500 million to gobble up or start video properties that can be poised and ready for OTT’s gradual explosion. Disney already has earmarked up nearly $500 million to own Maker Studios.

That’s nothing-much-money compared to what they might represent someday. But it’s stunning when you consider that what these big media entities are buying is not a mass audience but a mass of audience that watches hundreds of bits of video at a time, day after day. Otter knows what it’s doing even if, undoubtedly at any given moment, it has only a vague idea of what its channels are doing. That’s how things are.

pj@mediapost.com     

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