Viacom has acquired AwesomenessTV, the youth-focused digital media company, the company announced on Friday.
The deal values Awesomeness at a significant discount compared to its 2016 valuation of $650 million, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told TheWrap. Viacom did not share terms of the buyout in its announcement.
Awesomeness CEO Jordan Levin will leave the company after a transition period, according to Viacom. The company — which has targeted millennial and Gen Z viewers through an array of content across several social platforms, subscription-video-on-demand services, and thousands of YouTube channels — will integrate with Viacom Digital Studios.
“Awesomeness has done an incredible job building their brand into a digital media powerhouse for today’s most sought-after and hard-to-reach youth audiences,” Kelly Day, president of Viacom Digital Studios, said in a statement. “The team brings strong digital expertise, deep connections with top talent and influencers, a world-class television and film studio, and a robust branded content team and creative agency that will accelerate the growth and scale of Viacom Digital Studios.”
Awesomeness has 158 million subscribers across several platforms, leading to about 300 million views each month.
The acquisition signals another step in CEO Bob Bakish’s continued attempts to bolster Viacom’s digital strategy. Viacom bought VidCon, the online video conference beloved by teens, earlier this year. And there are already close ties between the two outfits: Day, who runs Viacom’s nascent digital studio, was previously at Awesomeness. Brian Robbins, co-founder and former CEO of AwesomenessTV, is now at Paramount Pictures, which falls under the Viacom umbrella.
Before Viacom’s deal, Comcast owned a 51 percent stake in Awesomeness, which it grabbed from Dreamworks as part of its buyout in 2016. Hearst and Verizon each owned 24.5 percent cuts of the company.