Maker Studios launched its own video site and a bevy of new shows at a presentation in New York Tuesday night as the company continues its transition from a network of YouTube channels to a much larger media company.
Maker operates one of the largest networks of online video channels in the world, a property lucrative enough that Disney has agreed to pay as much as $950 million to buy it. In addition to its presence on the world’s largest video site, it boasts a strong advertising sales team and merchandising division.
The biggest challenge facing companies like Maker has been financial. Maker and Fullscreen — also the subject of acquisition talk — already achieved massive scale. Yet convincing advertisers to spend more on their videos and generating revenue beyond YouTube’s borders has proven more elusive.
Maker took two big steps in the right direction this week: It forged an eight-figure deal with advertising giant Omnicom on the eve of the NewFront, a presentation for advertisers akin to the television upfronts. This is the first time Maker has held such an event.
Maker also launched Maker.TV, a new video destination. Every network has been looking to distribute beyond YouTube to maximize revenue. While YouTube still contributes a significant amount of revenue to online video networks via advertising, it takes 45 percent of that money. Maker has been working on its own site for months, and acquired Blip to use its video player.
Maker executive chairman Ynon Kreiz, chief technology officer Ryan Lissack and head of sales Jason Krebs all took the stage to present these new products alongside chief content officer Erin McPherson. McPherson unveiled Maker’s upcoming shows, including smartish, a new channel from “Super Size Me” filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, and “Ithamar Has Nothing to Say,” a comedy series produced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.