By Sahil Patel
FremantleMedia North America has inked a multi-year development deal with StyleHaul, a multi-channel network on YouTube devoted to fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content. The deal covers multiple original online series over the next few years, including an entertainment talk-show series called “The Crew,” which is currently in post-production.
StyleHaul’s deal with FMNA follows a minority investment RTL Group, FremantleMedia’s parent company, made in the beauty network in May 2013. That investment was a few months after Bertelsmann, which owns a majority stake in RTL Group, put $6 million into StyleHaul through its Digital Media Investments arm. And it was also one month before RTL Group made another major investment in a YouTube company, pumping $36 million into Vancouver-based MCN BroadbandTV in June.
RTL says its investment in StyleHaul is part of a broader strategy for the company to become a “leading player in all segments” of the emerging online video market. StyleHaul’s video network, with its laser focus on beauty and fashion content, currently encompasses more than 2,000 creators and 104 million subscribers.
“Almost overnight StyleHaul has become the largest online network for young women, making them an ideal partner for us as we grow our original digital content business,” said Gayle Gilman, EVP of digital content at FMNA, in a statement. “We’re excited to be working with [StyleHaul CEO] Stephanie Horbaczewski and her team to develop and produce original scripted and unscripted series for such a fast growing and engaged audience.”
“The Crew” will be the first digital series to launch following the creation of FMNA’s digital production business in September. Taped in front of a live studio audience, “The Crew” will be hosted by YouTubers Marcus Butler (1.7 million subs), Alfie Deyes (1.5 million subs), Jim Chapman (1 million subs), and Caspar Lee (1.5 million subs). Per the announcement, the show will mix in-studio content with man-on-the-street segments, with each episode centering on a single topic like relationships, social media, culture clashes, and texting etiquette. FMNA and StyleHaul have shot 10 episodes of the series, which will debut in January 2014 on StyleHaul.
Butler, Deyes, Chapman, and Lee are all represented by Gleam Futures.
This article has been updated to correct an earlier typo which stated that “The Crew” is in pre-production. The show wrapped production last week and is scheduled to debut in January.