By Sahil Patel
Former Maker Studios executive Will Keenan has been named the president of Endemol Beyond USA, the domestic arm of a new global digital venture from Endemol, the producer of TV shows like “Big Brother” and “Wipeout.”
Just last week, Endemol announced its intentions to turn Endemol Beyond, which currently serves as the studio’s local German hub for digital video content, into an international network of channels dedicated to streaming original and licensed content across genres like comedy, entertainment, fashion, and film. These channels will be available across all of the top online video platforms, including YouTube, Dailymotion, AOL, MSN, and Yahoo. To make all of this happen, Endemol said it would invest over $40 million in the new venture, which would go toward creating original programming, signing talent, and developing partnerships with top brands.
Overseeing the entire initiative is Endemol Beyond’s managing director Georg Ramme. Keenan, as president of Endemol Beyond USA, will oversee the initiative in the US. Beginning his new post immediately, Keenan will report to Cris Abrego and Charlie Corwin, co-CEOs and chairmen of Endemol North America.
VideoInk caught up with Keenan, who is meeting with Endemol execs in New York, this morning. Excited about his new job, Keenan said: “You asked not too long ago what was next for me and I had said, ‘I’ma goin’ big or goin’ home.’ What I really meant to say was, ‘I’ma goin’ Beyond.’”
Separately, we’ve heard that Keenan and Endemol Beyond plan to be “aggressive” in making investments and acquisitions within the digital space, and have already spoke to a “number of MCNs.”
Keenan is a well-known veteran of the web video space. Prior to Endemol, he had spent two years at Maker Studios, helping the company grow to its current status as one of the largest MCN’s on YouTube. When Keenan left Maker, his title was the MCN’s VP of vertical development and network programming. During his time at the MCN, he was also instrumental in inking partnerships with Hollywood talent like Margaret Cho and Kevin Smith, as well as bringing channels like BaracksDubs and BadLipReading to Maker’s network.
Also, for what it’s worth, current Maker Studios executive chairman, Ynon Kreiz, is a former chairman and CEO of Endemol.