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Upfronts / Newfronts

Dreamworks Animation Acquires YouTube Network AwesomenessTV

Deal Could Be Worth As Much As $117 Million

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One of the most successful channels to come out of YouTube's content experiment – AwesomenessTV – just became the first to be acquired by big media.

Dreamworks Animation SKG announced today it is purchasing AwesomnessTV for $33 million in cash and up to $117 million in other consideration if the deal turns out to be a success.

AwesomenessTV is a so-called "multi-channel network" with shows like "Cheerleaders," "Flippin Awesome," "Make Me Over" and "Runaways" and others across entertainment, sports, music and beauty. The network has a recurring presence on Ad Age's YouTube Channel Tracker, where last week it was No. 9 among the channels YouTube has funded. AllThingsD reported news of the impending deal Tuesday night.

The deal comes amid the so-called NewFronts, where digital media companies are hoping to snag a chunk of the TV advertising pie. YouTube is throwing its "Brandcast" for advertisers and agencies tonight, and no doubt this news will play some role. The deal also comes amid a flurry of investments in YouTube-native media and tech companies like Maker Studios and Fullscreen.

Awesomeness TV CEO Brian Robbins will join Dreamworks and oversee the creation of a branded family YouTube network "harnessing the studio's resources, technology and vast IP portfolio."

"Awesomeness TV is one of the fastest growing content channels on the internet today and our acquisition of this groundbreaking venture will bring incredible momentum to our digital strategy," said DreamWorks Animation CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, in a statement. "Brian Robbins has an extraordinary track record in creating family content both for traditional and new platforms and his expertise in the TV arena will be invaluable as we grow our presence in that space."

YouTube content chief Robert Kyncl also applauded the deal, in the press release: "In a very short time, Brian Robbins has built AwesomenessTV into a powerful, next-generation, audience network on YouTube," Mr. Kyncl said in the statement. "DreamWorks Animation's acquisition is symbolic of the incredible evolution of online entertainment and continues the exciting momentum of creators on the platform. I look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration."

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