“With a network of more than 158 million subscribers, the addition of Awesomeness will strengthen Viacom’s dominance among coveted youth audiences and accelerate the company’s push to produce original premium digital programming,” Viacom said in a statement.
AwesomenessTV was previously a joint venture of DreamWorks Animation (a subsidiary of NBCUniversal) and Verizon Hearst Media Partners, and will join Viacom’s portfolio of brands as part of Viacom Digital Studios, headed by former Awesomeness chief business officer Kelly Day, with the aim of accelerating Viacom’s digital transformation.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. According to US press reports, a price well under $300 million was paid, significantly lower than the $650 million valuation that the company reportedly commanded when Verizon invested in 2016. The Hollywood Reporter reported the price to be $25 million plus debt.
Jordan Levin, who has served as Awesomeness CEO since May 2017, will be leaving the company following a transition period post-acquisition, Viacom said in the statement.
Awesomeness was co-founded in 2012 by Brian Robbins, who currently serves as president of Paramount Players at Viacom, and producer Joe Davola. It started as a YouTube channel and multi-channel network (MCN). Targeting teenagers and preteens, AwesomenessTV creates original web series, television shows and theatrical films across all platforms.
The company operates a talent division, branded entertainment division, consumer products division, publishing division, music division, and global network of affiliate YouTube channels.