Fullscreen Aiming For Its Own Premium Place?

It’s nice to own your own home.

Presumably, that’s not considered as true as it once was, but don’t tell that to Fullscreen. According to a story by Joshua Cohen for Tubefilter, that major YouTube multichannel network is coming close to launching its own premium on-demand service with a special emphasis on programming for millennials.

I’d say “How novel!” right about here, with full-throttle sarcasm, since everything seems to be aimed at that vaguely defined demo. But Fullscreen apparently is not messing with programs for toddlers or GenXers at all, like Netflix and Hulu.

Instead, Fullscreen is putting all of its programming and marketing eggs in with viewers from about 10 years old to 33, give or take. Millennials aren’t as well defined as some other age groups.

And that strategy is logical, if everything we hear about millennials is at least partially correct. They’ve grown up not only with the Internet, but, for many of them, with the Internet as a major socializing force. These are the folks most likely to say they’re unhooking from cable, or never subscribed to it in the first place. Tubefilter says Fullscreen has honed down the demo further and is looking for viewers 13-24.

Fullscreen has those viewers on YouTube already, establishing something of a brand for itself with its channels claiming 3.2 billion views monthly.

It recently signed a channel rep/brand integration deal with Grace Helbig, a big YouTube star when she fronted “My Daily Grace” on My Damn Channel, and slightly less so on her own “It’s Grace.”  Though her viewers obviously knew she switched YouTube channels, it’s unlikely many YouTube users have ever heard of FullScreen.  

That’s also true for all those Maker Studios channels, for that matter. Maker just got bought by Disney for a billion dollars and launched its own site, Maker.TV, earlier in May.

In television, the wise guys say people watch programs, not channels, and that’s true enough. But even a casual viewer has heard of A&E and Discovery, which helps them return there. Maybe I’m too old school, but a thousand points of entry on YouTube, like Maker and Fullscreen have, seems as able to blur a brand as likely as it can burnish it, particularly if the brand isn’t otherwise publicizing itself except to venture capitalists.    

So I wonder how easily these standalone, YouTube-graduates fare without some outside marketing.

Maker will get it with its Disney/ABC attachment. Fullscreen doesn’t have that, but it does have Comcast and Peter Chernin, ex-News Corp. COO, as investors, and The Chernin Group (with AT&T) already fronted “Summer Break,” an ambitious multi-multiplatform reality show that was an awesome display of using just every social media device to drive the product. 

Separately, last month, Chernin and AT&T announced a pact to spend $500 million on over-the-top video ventures. Then AT&T announced its intention to acquire DirecTV, and well, you see where this all could be headed Pretty clearly, as over-the-top TV services multiply, there’s a line forming of content makers that want to be there when viewers start “turning on” an Internet channel on their TV set. Or pad or cell phone.

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