AwesomenessTV is will be targeting British youth via a new deal with London-based broadcaster ITV, which has acquired U.K. premiere rights to the L.A.-based multi-platform production company’s long-form premium series.
The first year of the deal gives ITV rights to 75 hours of AwesomenessTV shows for for its free-to-air ITV2 network and its ITV Hub VOD platform. It will increase to 100 hours in 2018. The ITV Hub will have the exclusive online U.K. premieres of a number of AwesomenessTV shows, marking the first time ITV’s on demand service will have exclusive original series.
The companies will also partner co-produce new youth-focused original scripted and unscripted series for the U.K., which will be licensed to international markets by ITV Global Entertainment. Their first effort will be a weekend program hosted by young talent, featuring the acquired scripted and unscripted AwesomenessTV series, that will premiere on ITV2 in early 2017.
AwesomenessTV was founded in 2012 by director/producer Brian Robbins and producer exec Joe Davola, who had previously collaborated on the TV shows “Smallville” and “One Tree Hill.” Today, a majority stake is owned by DreamWorks Animation (in the process of being purchased by NBCUniversal), with Verizon and Hearst owning 24.5% each. The company is headed by Robbins, its CEO, and president Brett Bouttier.
In addition to its core TV business — which supplies content to YouTube, as well as Netflix (“Richie Rich,” “Project MC²”) and Nickelodeon — AwesomenessTV also has divisions covering features (Awesomeness Films), music (Awesomeness Music), publishing (Awesomeness Ink), artist management (Big Frame) and consumer products.
Recent AwesomenessTV efforts include “t@gged,” an 11-part psychological thriller starring Lia Marie Johnson (“Expelled”), Lulu Antariksa (“What Still Remains”) and Jc Caylen (“Boo! A Madea Halloween”), which premiered last week on Go90. The show is part of an overall deal to produce 200 hours of programming for the Verizon-owned mobile entertainment platform. It is also collaborating with Major League Baseball on a multi-episode original scripted series designed to reframe the baseball experience for Gen Z.
“AwesomenessTV has quickly grown into one of the most successful youth content companies in the world,” said Simon Pitts, managing director of online, pay TV and interactive at ITV, in a statement. “The team has very successfully combined the best of YouTube with high quality production values to create great TV shows.”
In May, ITV partnered with another U.S.-based entertainment company, Hulu, on the hour-long drama “Harlots,” starring Samantha Morton (“The Last Panther,” “Minority Report”). The eight-episode first season will air on ITV Encore in the U.K. and stream exclusively in the U.S. on Hulu as part of its originals slate.