The Walt Disney Company just expanded its internet kingdom in a significant and expensive way.
TWDC announced on Monday afternoon that it had reached a deal to acquire Maker Studios, the massive online video network, for $500 million in total consideration and up to $450 million in performance-based rewards. Maker is the leading YouTube network, boasting 55,000 channels, 380 million subscribers and 5.5 billion views per month on the Google-owned platform.
“Short-form online video is growing at an astonishing pace and with Maker Studios, Disney will now be at the center of this dynamic industry with an unmatched combination of advanced technology and programming expertise and capabilities,” Robert A. Iger, Disney chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
It had been previously reported that Disney was in talks to buy the company; several other online networks have sold or aligned with studios of late, including AwesomenessTV (to DreamWorks Animation) and Machinima, which took investment from Warner Bros.
Previously, Maker Studios raised $36 million in late 2012, with investors valuing the company at $300 million; at TheWrap‘s conference last September executive chairman Ynon Kreiz said Maker would be a billion-dollar company. It also acquired the Blip video player platform, part of its plan to make profit outside of YouTube, which could not deliver enough in advertising fees to match the network’s ambitions.
Obviously, Disney’s money certainly was able to do so.