By Sahil Patel
It’s official and it’s the biggest bet on a YouTube business to date.
Maker Studios, the YouTube MCN that consists of 55,000 channels reaching 380 million subscribers and 5.5 billion monthly views, has been acquired by Disney for $500 million, with a performance-based earn-out that could drive up the ultimate price to $950 million (“if the strong performance targets are met,” says Disney in the announcement).
Why did Disney buy Maker Studios? Well, officially:
“By acquiring Maker Studios, Disney will gain advanced technology and business intelligence capability regarding consumers’ discovery and interaction with short-form online videos, including Disney content.”
Seems like Disney will use Maker Studios as more of a data house than a farm system for new talent (though it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other).
Maker Studios will be under the oversight of Disney CFO Jay Rasulo. The company will remain headquartered in Culver City, with additional offices in New York and London. The deal is expected to close, pending regulatory approval, in Disney’s fiscal third quarter.