Boutique YouTube Multi-Channel Network Big Frame has been acquired by AwesomenessTV in an all cash deal.
AwesomenessTV was itself acquired by DreamWorks Animation for $33 million in 2013, with the promise of an extra $84 million if they hit DreamWorks’ performance targets (potentially pushing the total to $117 million). Now, it seems AwesomenessTV has put some of that cash to good use in buying Big Frame for $15 million.
Founded by Steve Raymond and Sarah Penna (MysteryGuitarMan’s wife) in 2011, Big Frame is one of the smallest YouTube networks in terms of the number of channels they represent. However, even though they represent less than 300 channels, those they do represent include a diverse mix of YouTube fixtures like Joe Penna (MysteryGuitarMan), DeStorm Power, and Craig Benzine (WheezyWaiter) alongside some increasingly influential YouTube personalities like Colleen Ballinger (MirandaSings), Sawyer Hartman, Jimmy Tatro (LifeAccordingToJimmy), and Peter Chao (Pyrobooby).
This deal continues the trend of consolidation among YouTube networks, following hot on the heels of Disney’s acquisition of Maker Studios for $500m.
Speaking about the deal, AwesomenessTV COO Brett Bouttier said: “With AwesomenessTV committed to aggressive growth, the acquisition of Big Frame enables us to bring on expertise in talent development as well as a great group of YouTube stars.”
While AwesomenessTV represents a selection of top-tier teen-interest YouTube channels like the Janoskians, AustinMahone, Jennxpenn, LiaMarieJohnson, and TarynSouthern, they also represent a mind-boggling 87,760 other channels, and most of them have less than 1,000 subscribers and a very low view count. This deal gives them access to Big Frame’s respectable roster of YouTube talent, and boosts their total global view count to almost one billion views per month.
“Sarah and Steve have a great track record for identifying and developing talent and we believe that working together we can build talent brands that will transcend YouTube,” AwesomenessTV CEO and Co-Founder Brian Robbins said of the deal.
AwesomenessTV started life as a multi-channel network itself, but has since expanded to become a multi-platform media company with close ties to children’s television network Nickelodeon. The network is helmed by Brian Robbins, who has a strong pedigree in traditional media having directed hit movies like ‘Norbit’ starring Eddie Murphy and ‘Good Burger’ starring Kenan & Kel. He also stands as the executive producer of many television hits, such as ‘Smallville,’ and ‘The Amanda Show.’ Robbins also has deep ties to YouTube, having founded a number of YouTube channels, and co-founded the YouTube Network AllDefDigital with business magnate Russell Simmons.
Big Frame had been funded by private investment and a single round of public funding, which raised a little over $3 million in June 2012 from DFJ Frontier, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Anthem Venture Partners, and others. When that money ran out, the company took on a significant amount of debt to cover their operations. AwesomenessTV will cover that debt as part of the deal, in addition to the $15 million cash acquisition.
The deal is still subject to review and a number of “closing conditions,” but if all goes well the deal will be completed later this month.