Leading European media corporation ProSiebenSat.1 Group is merging its Berlin-based multi-channel network Studio71 with L.A.-based Collective Digital Studio (CDS) to create a new global MCN dubbed Collective Studio71, which currently collectively generates 2 billion views per month, according to the company.
“By this merger we will reach a global audience and can thereby offer additional marketing opportunities to advertising customers,” said Christof Wahl, managing director ProSiebenSat.1 Digital, in a statement. “At the same time, we will intensify international talent development so we can also be a preferred partner for the digital influencers of tomorrow.”
ProSiebenSat.1 is investing $83 million in Collective Studio71, which it says will give the newly-formed entity a $240 million valuation. ProSiebenSat.1 will hold 75% the equity shares in Collective Studio71, with the remaining shares are held by the founders of CDS. The GF Capital Private Equity Fund, which partnered with CDS management in the formation and growth of the company, will maintain a stake in Collective Studio71.
The new company will be jointly managed by Wahl, Sebastian Weil and Ronald Horstman of ProSiebenSat.1 and CDS founders Michael Green and Reza Izad (pictured, left to right).
Studio 71 and CDS will run autonomously in their regions, with Studio 71 will overseeing European and U.K. operations and CDS handling the Americas and other English speaking regions.
The companies have been working together closely since ProSiebenSat.1 acquired a 20% stake in CDS for an undisclosed amount in March 2014, sharing data, tech, and back office operations. Sources close to the company told VideoInk that the 20% was based on a $50 million valuation.
“Through our existing ProSiebenSat.1 partnership, we have been able to greatly increase monetization for our creators in Germany,” said Green, founder and chairman of CDS, in a statement. “The combination of our two MCNs, backed by a strong financial foundation, will enable us to leverage opportunities throughout Europe, the Americas and other territories to establish the first truly global MCN. There will also be a strong focus on bringing in broadcast partners for all these territories worldwide.”
The CDS multi-channel network includes Rhett & Link’s Good Mythical Morning, Lilly Singh (aka IISuperwomanII), Corridor Digital, Explosm Entertainment’s Cyanide and Happiness, Meredith Foster, Matthew Santoro and pranksters Roman Atwood and VitalyzdTv. The company has also taken its YouTube stars to television with projects that include a TV show and movie series on Nickelodeon starring the Fred Figglehorn
character (played by Lucas Cruikshank) and Epic Meal Time’s current FYI network program “Epic Meal Empire. In addition, CDS has produced the hit web series “Video Game High School”, as well as branded content initiatives for companies including Verizon, Dodge, Estee Lauder, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Toyota and Sony PlayStation.
Founded in 2013, Studio71 has produced popular European digital properties such as “Let’s Play Together,” “Last Man Standing” and “The Mansion” and television-to web programs including “The Voice Kids” and “The Voice of Germany.” It has been active in the branded content business, working with companies such as Sony and Axe.