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Viacom Purchases AwesomenessTV for a Reported $25M Plus Debt
Falling prices, falling networks: If teen-oriented digital networks have such a high failure rate, why are so many companies rushing to invest?

As was heavily rumored last week, Viacom has completed its acquisition of teen-oriented online media company AwesomenessTV, and the reported price tag is $25 million plus the company's existing debt. That's far from Awesomeness's valuation of $650 million during its 2016 investment round. Way back in 2013, DreamWorks purchased Awesomeness TV for $33 million, which suggests the company is now less valuable that it was 5 years ago.

By the way, that DreamWorks acquisition was announced by then-company CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg during the YouTube BrandCast in New York City. Katzenberg was also in the news last week as his company WndrCo has taken $1 billion in funding to create a new teen-focused mobile video platform, and is looking for an additional $1 billion. Considering the low success rate of teen-focused streaming networks in the last year, WndrCo's investors are taking a gamble.

Under this latest deal, AwesomenessTV will join Viacom's brands, fitting between Nickelodeon and MTV. Awesomeness CEO Jordan Levin will leave the company. Prior to this, Comcast/NBCUniversal owned a 51 percent share of the Awesomeness, while Verizon and Hearst owned the rest. Verizon has been burned a few times by teen digital networks, as it recently closed Go90, reportedly losing $900 million in the process.

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In this Q&A discussion, AwesomenessTV's COO explains what a multi-channel network gains when it's acquired by a major movie studio.