by Brian Robbins and Joe Davola
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|Parent||Viacom Digital studios|
Founded by Brian Robbins and Joe Davola, AwesomenessTV started as a YouTube channel and multi-channel network. Targeting teenagers and preteens, AwesomenessTV creates original web series, television shows, and theatrical films across all platforms.
The company operates a talent division, branded entertainment division, consumer products division, publishing division, music division, and global network of affiliate YouTube channels.
The AwesomenessTV YouTube channel launched as part of YouTube's Original Programming initiative and became one of YouTube’s top performing destinations. Brett Bouttier joined as Chief Operating Officer in November 2012. By January 2013, the channel hit one billion views.
The AwesomenessTV Network, or Multi-Channel Network (MCN), launched in December 2012 and has since grown to include 90,000 channels from YouTube creators around the world.
2013–2018: DreamWorks and VerizonEdit
On May 1, 2013, it was revealed that DreamWorks Animation had acquired AwesomenessTV for $33 million. Plans were also announced for DWA to leverage the company's resources to establish its own YouTube channel focusing on its media properties. In October 2013, the company partnered with the teen magazine Seventeen to operate its YouTube channel.
In April 2014, AwesomenessTV acquired the MCN and talent management company Big Frame for $15 million. That month, the company also hired former Claire's CEO James Fielding to lead a new consumer products division. In June 2014, DreamWorks Animation launched its DreamWorksTV channel, operated by AwesomenessTV, which would feature shorts and original series (including content based on DreamWorks franchises such as Shrek, and DreamWorks Classics), as well as previews and behind-the-scenes content related to its upcoming films. The following month, the record label Awesomeness Music was announced, in partnership with Universal Music Group.
In September 2014, AwesomenessTV announced its first consumer product line, the teen apparel brand S.o. R.a.d., in partnership with the department store chain Kohl's. The line would be co-branded with an accompanying web series, Life's S.o. R.a.d., which would feature the clothing and teen personalities.
In October 2014, AwesomenessTV launched a publishing label, AwesomenessInk. As part of their ongoing relationship with DWA for original productions, Netflix also announced a live-action Richie Rich sitcom produced by AwesomenessTV. In December 2014, Hearst Corporation acquired a 25% stake in the company for $81.25 million.
In June 2015, the company hired former Lionsgate executive Matt Kaplan as president of Awesomeness Films. In August 2015, AwesomenessTV announced an output deal with Canadian children's media conglomerate DHX Media, in which the companies will co-develop and license new original content, with DHX handling international distribution and merchandising. DHX also began to acquire the studio's programming to air on its owned television network Family Channel.
On April 6, 2016, Verizon Communications, who had acquired several series from the studio (such as Guidance) for its ad-supported streaming service go90, acquired a 24.5% stake in AwesomenessTV for $159 million, valuing the company at $650 million. Alongside the equity stake, the deal included a multi-year, $180 million investment for the studio to produce content for Verizon, for which it would hold exclusive U.S. distribution rights. Verizon and AwesomenessTV also planned to launch a branded, subscription-based video service targeting mobile devices.
Later that month, NBCUniversal subsidiary Universal Pictures announced its intent to acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion, in a deal completed August 22, 2016. On February 22, 2017, Brian Robbins stepped down as AwesomenessTV's CEO. On November 1, 2017, it was announced that Kelly Day would step down as Chief Business Officer to become the new CEO for Viacom Digital Studios.
The planned premium content service was cancelled, while content investments planned for the service were reallocated to go90.
After a struggled launch and performance below expectations, Verizon shut down go90 in July 2018. Digiday reported that Verizon's content investments with AwesomenessTV had accounted for approximately 40% of the studio's revenue, which led to concerns over how the company would run without this backing. As NBCUniversal's parent company Comcast competed directly with Verizon, the two companies were unwilling to be in a joint venture with each other. The two companies had also become disinterested in the venture, as the exits of Brian Robbins and DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg had lessened the appeal of the venture to Verizon, while Comcast did not think that the company was one of DWA's core assets, or fit alongside its other digital media investments (such as BuzzFeed). The company had planned a downsizing under its new CEO Jordan Levin.
On July 25, 2018, Viacom announced that it was in talks to acquire AwesomenessTV for a fraction of the company's $650 million valuation in 2016. Two days later, on July 27, Viacom officially announced the purchase, with a valuation initially reported to be $25 million plus the assumption of debt, but later $50 million. The DreamWorksTV service was taken in-house after the sale, with operations assumed by NBCUniversal Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises. Jordan Levin left his position as CEO following the acquisition.
With its affiliated channels, AwesomenessTV has generated over 17 billion lifetime video views, with over 150 million subscribers, as of April 2016.
AwesomenessTV produced the television sketch comedy series called AwesomenessTV on Nickelodeon. The show includes sketches, parody videos, and hidden camera antics. Season One launched in July 2013 with 20 episodes and Season Two premiered in May 2014 with 20 episodes.
Expelled, a comedy film featuring Vine star Cameron Dallas, Lia Marie Johnson, Andrea Russett, Teala Dunn, Marcus Johns, and Matt Shively was released on December 16, 2014 by 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks Animation's then-distribution partner.
AwesomenessTV partners with leading global brands to develop campaigns for teen and millennial audiences. In addition to brands such as Old Navy, The Coca-Cola Company and Google, AwesomenessTV partnered with Royal Caribbean to create the scripted web series “Shipping Julia”, "Royal Crush" and the docu-series “YoMuscleBoii’s Royal Caribbean Adventure,” which launched on AwesomenessTV's YouTube channel.
- Spangler, Todd (July 27, 2018). "Viacom Acquires AwesomenessTV; CEO Jordan Levin to Depart". Variety. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Chmielewski, Dawn (July 27, 2018). "Viacom Acquires AwesomenessTV; CEO Jordan Levin To Depart". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Gillette, Felix. "Hollywood's Big-Money YouTube Hit Factory". Bloomberg Businessweek. August 28, 2014.
- Brian Robbins and Joe Davola, AwesomenessTV. The Paley Center for Media. May 6, 2014.
- Chmielewski, Dawn. OMG, it's a YouTube channel just for millennials. Los Angeles Times. June 24, 2012.
- Variety's New Leaders. Variety. October 24, 2012.
- Shaw, Lucas. AwesomenessTV Tops 1 Billion Views By Adding Austin Mahone, The Janoskians. The Wrap. June 6, 2013.
- Shaw, Lucas. Can Big Frame Build a Management Company for Internet Stars? The Wrap. June 18, 2014.
- Wallenstein, Andrew (2013-05-01). "DreamWorks Animation Buys YouTube Channel AwesomenessTV for $33 Million". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- Taintor, David (October 16, 2013). "Hearst, AwesomenessTV to Launch YouTube Effort for Seventeen". Adweek. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- "AwesomenessTV to Buy YouTube MCN Big Frame for $15 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- Lieberman, David (2014-04-08). "AwesomenessTV To Enter The Licensed Merchandise Business". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- Spangler, Todd (2014-06-16). "DreamWorks Animation Launches YouTube Channel with Shrek, Original Series and More". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- Atkinson, Claire (2014-07-21). "Universal Music looking to cater to the YouTube crowd". New York Post. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- "AwesomenessTV Teams With Kohl's on New Fashion Line". The Wrap. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
- "Awesomeness TV and Kohl's Team Up On A New Teen Clothing Line". Retrieved 2019-05-27. Text "websiteMediapost.com" ignored (help)
- Trachtenberg, Jeffrey and Winkler, Rolfe. From YouTube Stars, Literary Lions. Wall Street Journal. October 12, 2014.
- Spangler, Todd (2014-10-29). "Netflix Picks Up 'Richie Rich' Live-Action Comedy from AwesomenessTV". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- Verrier, Richard (December 11, 2014). "Hearst Corp. buys 25% stake in AwesomenessTV". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times Media Group. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
- Hipes, Patrick (June 23, 2015). "AwesomenessTV Taps Former Lionsgate Exec As Film Boss". Deadline. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- "DHX to Bring AwesomenessTV Shows to Canadian Television". Variety. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
- "Family Channel's new teen block F2N launches January 4 with the premiere of Degrassi: Next Class" (Press release). CNW. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- Spangler, Todd (April 6, 2016). "Verizon to Acquire 24.5% Stake in AwesomenessTV for $159 Million". Variety. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Patel, Sahil (2 August 2018). "Go90 or bust: How AwesomenessTV's fate was tied to Verizon". Digiday. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
- James, Meg (April 28, 2016). "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- Dave McNary (August 22, 2016). "Comcast Completes $3.8 Billion DreamWorks Animation Purchase". Variety. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
- "Brian Robbins to Step Down as AwesomenessTV CEO (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- Spangler, Todd (1 November 2017). "Viacom Taps AwesomenessTV's Kelly Day as President of Newly Created Digital Studios Unit". Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- Spangler, Todd (2017-02-14). "Verizon, AwesomenessTV Fold Premium-Content Venture, Samie Kim Falvey Out (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
- Spangler, Todd (July 25, 2018). "Viacom in Talks to Buy AwesomenessTV". Variety. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Hayes, Dade (July 25, 2018). "Viacom In Talks To Acquire AwesomenessTV At Attractive Discount". Deadline. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Spangler, Todd. "Viacom's AwesomenessTV Deal Worth More Than $50 Million: Sources". Variety. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- Spangler, Todd (2018-07-27). "Viacom Acquires AwesomenessTV; CEO Jordan Levin to Depart". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- Frankel, Daniel. "Viacom-Owned Awesomeness Re-emerges as Self-Proclaimed 'Studio of Gen-Z'". Multichannel. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- "Is a DreamWorks Deal Perfect for Comcast?". NASDAQ.com. 2016-04-28. Retrieved 2018-01-04.
- to Premiere Season 2 of AWESOMENESSTV. Broadway World. May 1, 2014.
- Jarvey, Natalie. Lionsgate Acquires Worldwide Rights to The SMOSH Movie. The Hollywood Reporter. September 18, 2014.
- "Old Navy CMO Aims to Lessen Brand's Reliance on TV". Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- "YouTube Net AwesomenessTV Steals TV Spend for Royal Caribbean Series". Retrieved 12 August 2018.