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AwesomenessTV Pays $15M to Acquire Rival Big Frame

The combined network will reach 80 million subscribers and counting

AwesomenessTV has paid $15 million to acquire Big Frame, a fellow network of YouTube channels that reaches 39 million subscribers, the companies said Wednesday.

Though AwesomenessTV has expanded beyond YouTube since being acquired by DreamWorks Animation, producing a TV show and a few movies, its network of YouTube channels remains the core of its business. Acquiring Big Frame increases its scale on the world’s largest video site, bringing its combined total of subscribers to 80 million.

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Big Frame, founded by former Current TV executive Sarah Penna and former Yahoo executive Steve Raymond in 2011, recognized the potential for building careers on YouTube early on. Penna had worked with early YouTube maven Philip DeFranco, and she and Raymond built their company as a hybrid management company and distribution network.

“With AwesomenessTV committed to aggressive growth, the acquisition of Big Frame enables us to bring on expertise in talent development as well as a great group of YouTube stars,” AwesomenessTV Chief Operating Officer Brett Bouttier said in a statement.

Most multi-channel networks distribute the channels in their networks and sell advertisements against them, but their other features distinguish them from their rivals. Big Frame has emphasized talent management, cultivating stars like Joe Penna (best known as MysteryGuitarMan) and DeStorm Power.

Like most multi-channel networks, Big Frame struggled to monetize its channels and its stars to the level it had hoped, prompting some staffing changes. It hoped to increase the rate it could charge advertisers by building up different channels dedicated to a particular audience, such as Wonderly, aimed at young women.

“Sarah and Steve have a great track record for identifying and developing talent and we believe that working together we can build talent brands that will transcend YouTube,” AwesomenessTV CEO Brian Robbins said in a statement.