|Founded||June 12, 2012|
|Parent||ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks|
|Footnotes / references|
Founded by Brian Robbins and Joe Davola, AwesomenessTV started as a YouTube channel and multi-channel network. Targeting teenagers and preteens, AwesomenessTV creates original web series, television shows, and theatrical films across all platforms.
The AwesomenessTV YouTube channel launched as part of YouTube's Original Programming initiative and became one of YouTube's top performing destinations. Brett Bouttier joined as Chief Operating Officer in November 2012. By January 2013, the channel hit one billion views.
2013–2018: DreamWorks and Verizon
On May 1, 2013, it was revealed that DreamWorks Animation had acquired AwesomenessTV for $33 million. Plans were also announced for DWA to leverage the company's resources to establish its own YouTube channel focusing on its media properties. In October 2013, the company partnered with the teen magazine Seventeen to operate its YouTube channel.
In April 2014, AwesomenessTV acquired the MCN and talent management company Big Frame for $15 million. That month, the company also hired former Claire's CEO James Fielding to lead a new consumer products division. In June 2014, DreamWorks Animation launched its DreamWorksTV channel, operated by AwesomenessTV, which would feature shorts and original series (including content based on DreamWorks franchises such as Shrek, and DreamWorks Classics), as well as previews and behind-the-scenes content related to its upcoming films. The following month, the record label Awesomeness Music was announced, in partnership with Universal Music Group.
In September 2014, AwesomenessTV announced its first consumer product line, the teen apparel brand S.o. R.a.d., in partnership with the department store chain Kohl's. The line would be co-branded with an accompanying web series, Life's S.o. R.a.d., which would feature the clothing and teen personalities.
In October 2014, AwesomenessTV launched a publishing label, AwesomenessInk. As part of their ongoing relationship with DWA for original productions, Netflix also announced a live-action Richie Rich sitcom produced by AwesomenessTV. In December 2014, Hearst Corporation acquired a 25% stake in the company for $81.25 million.
In June 2015, the company hired former Lionsgate executive Matt Kaplan as president of Awesomeness Films. In August 2015, AwesomenessTV announced an output deal with Canadian children's media conglomerate DHX Media, in which the companies will co-develop and license new original content, with DHX handling international distribution and merchandising. DHX also began to acquire the studio's programming to air on its owned television network Family Channel.
On April 6, 2016, Verizon Communications, who had acquired several series from the studio (such as Guidance) for its ad-supported streaming service go90, acquired a 24.5% stake in AwesomenessTV for $159 million, valuing the company at $650 million. Alongside the equity stake, the deal included a multi-year, $180 million investment for the studio to produce content for Verizon, for which it would hold exclusive U.S. distribution rights. Verizon and AwesomenessTV also planned to launch a branded, subscription-based video service targeting mobile devices.
Later that month, NBCUniversal subsidiary Universal Pictures announced its intent to acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion, in a deal completed August 22, 2016. On February 22, 2017, Brian Robbins stepped down as AwesomenessTV's CEO. On November 1, 2017, it was announced that Kelly Day would step down as Chief Business Officer to become the new CEO for Viacom Digital Studios.
After a struggled launch and performance below expectations, Verizon shut down go90 in July 2018. Digiday reported that Verizon's content investments with AwesomenessTV had accounted for approximately 40% of the studio's revenue, which led to concerns over how the company would run without this backing. As NBCUniversal's parent company Comcast competed directly with Verizon, the two companies were unwilling to be in a joint venture with each other. The two companies had also become disinterested in the venture, as the exits of Brian Robbins and DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg had lessened the appeal of the venture to Verizon, while Comcast did not think that the company was one of DWA's core assets, or fit alongside its other digital media investments (such as BuzzFeed). The company had planned a downsizing under its new CEO Jordan Levin.
On July 25, 2018, Viacom announced that it was in talks to acquire AwesomenessTV for a fraction of the company's $650 million valuation in 2016. Two days later, on July 27, Viacom officially announced the purchase, with a valuation initially reported to be $25 million plus the assumption of debt, but later $50 million. The DreamWorksTV service was taken in-house after the sale, with operations assumed by NBCUniversal Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises. Jordan Levin left his position as CEO following the acquisition.
Since the sale, the studio has focused more on productions for subscription video on-demand platforms such as Hulu and Netflix. With the acquisition by Viacom, their series began to air in primetime as part of the schedule of Viacom's TeenNick, along with a full-time channel on the company's newly-acquired streaming provider, Pluto TV.
AwesomenessTV produced the television sketch comedy series called AwesomenessTV on Nickelodeon. The show includes sketches, parody videos, and hidden camera antics. Season One launched in July 2013 with 20 episodes and Season Two premiered in May 2014 with 20 episodes.
Expelled, a comedy film featuring Vine star Cameron Dallas, Lia Marie Johnson, Andrea Russett, Teala Dunn, Marcus Johns, and Matt Shively was released on December 16, 2014 by 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks Animation's then-distribution partner.
AwesomenessTV partners with leading global brands to develop campaigns for teen and millennial audiences. In addition to brands such as Old Navy, The Coca-Cola Company and Google, AwesomenessTV partnered with Royal Caribbean to create the scripted web series “Shipping Julia”, "Royal Crush" and the docu-series “YoMuscleBoii’s Royal Caribbean Adventure,” which launched on AwesomenessTV's YouTube channel.
In 2016, it was announced that United Kingdom broadcaster ITV had signed a deal to acquire a package of AwesomenessTV programming for use on its linear and on-demand platforms. Later in the year it was confirmed that the content would be broadcast in a Sunday afternoon programming block on ITV2, similar to Channel 4's defunct T4 strand, under the branding 2Awesome. The presenters of the block were Roman Kemp and Vick Hope, who would subsequently work together on the Capital breakfast show. Alongside the linear block, a number of AwesomenessTV productions were made available on the ITV Hub.
In 2019, AwesomenessTV series 'Guidance' was acquired and broadcast by 4Music.
The AwesomenessTV Pluto TV channel is not, as of 2019, currently offered on the UK iteration of Pluto TV.
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- Mirror.co.uk, Jul 2016
- TellyMix, 2016