By Sahil Patel
Count Hearst Corporation as the latest large, traditional media company making an investment in the YouTube multi-channel network ecosystem. However, instead of simply pumping money into an existing MCN, Hearst is partnering with AwesomenessTV to launch its own teen-centric YouTube network, with a new branded programming channel for Seventeen magazine as its centerpiece.
Per the deal, AwesomenessTV will oversee the Seventeen MCN, which in many ways will function like AwesomenessTV’s own network. That is, the companies say the Seventeen MCN will look to scale by “providing a platform for teen girls to produce and share their own channels.” Similar to what the AwesomenessTV MCN does, the Seventeen MCN will open up opportunities for its creator partners to promote content and build an audience on YouTube.
At the center of this enterprise will be a new version of the Seventeen’s YouTube channel, which already has more than 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. To be programmed by Awesomeness TV, the channel will offer original series as well as other types of content ranging from one-off videos to tutorials on topics like fashion, beauty, entertainment, and relationships. Similar to how AwesomenessTV handles its MCN business, it’s likely that the Seventeen channel will be the “platform” through which its MCN partners can promote their content and channels to a wider audience.
Remember, AwesomenessTV has scaled its network to include more than 81,000 (yes, you read that right) teen and tween-oriented YouTube channels, reaching 26 million subscribers in total. Similarly, Hearst is banking on the fact that there are a lot of teen girls on YouTube, and a lot of them are watching the type of stuff Seventeen magazine specializes in.
Most of the commentary from AwesomenessTV and Hearst is focused around that — how teenage girls are not only consuming content on multiple devices, but are also beginning to participate in the creation of the type of stuff they enjoy watching.
“This is a generation that not only consumes an amazing amount of content, but produces it as well, which is what we are tapping into for Seventeen,” said Brian Robbins, founder and CEO of AwesomenessTV.
“AwesomenessTV really speaks to our audience: we’re identifying the online stars who resonate with our readers, and creating a platform for the millions of young women who are creating their own content to share with other girls around the world,” said Ann Shoket, editor-in-chief of Seventeen.
Under the arrangement, AwesomenessTV will handle content production and channel management for both the Seventeen channel and MCN, while Hearst will focus on ad sales. To get the MCN off the ground, AwesomenessTV plans to promote it across its own channel and network, while Hearst will look to drive viewership via print and online marketing.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.