Verizon Bets On Mobile Video, Takes Equity Stake In AwesomenessTV

Verizon Communications has made a deal to become a new equity partner in AwesomenessTV, the popular YouTube original video multichannel network -- a pact that will also boost its new premium mobile video service.

Verizon has bought a 24.5% stake in the company -- making it an equal partner with Hearst, which will own exactly the same 24.5% stake.

Hearst bought its original 25% for $81.25 million in 2014.

DreamWorks Animation will remain the majority shareholder in the company with a 51% stake. The studio acquired the company in 2013 for $33 million and promised to pay $117 million more if performance goals were met.

Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, AwesomenessTV now says it has a valuation of $650 million.



As part of the agreement with AwesomenessTV, the deal will create a premium short-form mobile video service, part of Verizon’s go90 business. Verizon will fund this new service through a multi-year agreement with AwesomenessTV.

The companies say the premium video will include “leading talent in front of and behind the camera.” AwesomenessTV has already produced shows for go90 -- ”Guidance” and “Top Five Live.”

With regard to the new service, Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, stated: “This agreement is clearly impactful for AwesomenessTV -- with annual revenues expected to more than double in the first 12 months of content delivery.” 

Brian Robbins, founder/chief executive officer of AwesomenessTV, and Brett Bouttier, president of Awesomeness, will continue to lead the company.

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