By Sahil Patel
DreamWorks Animation is interested in VEVO, according to Recode, which reports that DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has placed a bid to either buy a minority or majority stake in the music-video company.
When reached, VEVO declined to comment.
VEVO, which is owned by Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and Abu Dhabi Media, has a distribution business that encompasses owned-and-operated platforms for web, mobile, and connected TV, as well as syndication to partners such as AOL, Yahoo, and, most importantly, YouTube. Overall, VEVO generated more than 55 billion views in 2013, according to internal numbers previously released by the company.
Last July, YouTube’s owner Google made a 7% investment in VEVO (reportedly in the $40–50 million range) that values the company at $650 million.
DreamWorks, for its part, has been heavily investing in online video. Last year the studio famously acquired teen-focused YouTube MCN AwesomenessTV in a deal that could be worth up to $117 million. (AwesomenessTV, meanwhile, just bought fellow MCN Big Frame for $15 million.)
That’s in addition to a broad deal with Netflix to produce multiple original animated series based on DreamWorks’ animated film franchises. The first show out of that agreement was “Turbo Fast,” which debuted on Netflix last winter. More shows are in the works, based on characters from “Shrek,” “Madagascar,” and “VeggieTales.”
But why VEVO? According to Recode, DreamWorks is interested in expanding beyond animation. Which makes sense considering its AwesomenessTV acquisition. For its part, VEVO’s top channels and videos are from artists like Miley Cyrus, One Direction, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Rihanna — who all the kiddies like these days.
Per the report, Andy Forssell, the former acting CEO of Hulu, is assisting DreamWorks on the VEVO bid.