Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

YouTube Star Managers The Collective Buy Web Video Pioneer Metacafe

Metacafe was a Web video pioneer that fell behind YouTube and never caught up. And now it has a new, slightly unconventional home: Hollywood management agency The Collective is buying the video site.

I don’t have deal terms, and don’t know what will happen to Metacafe’s site and staff. But I have confirmed that the transaction has been essentially completed.

I also have the rationale for the deal: The Collective, which has carved out a niche representing breakout YouTube properties/stars like the Annoying Orange and Freddie Wong, is acquiring Metacafe because it values Metacafe’s ad sales infrastructure and team.

There’s a little bit of a trend here. Most YouTube stars rely on Google’s sales force to bring them revenue and deals, but we’re now seeing the rise of independent YouTube networks, like Machinima and Maker Studios, that are making their own deals for their talent.

Metacafe says it has 12 million unique visitors, which means it is not only dwarfed by YouTube but by all of the biggest Web video networks.

But at one point it was considered a YouTube peer, and came close to a $200 million sale to Yahoo in 2006. More recently, it has concentrated on a handful of content “verticals,” and most recently launched a dude-friendly “MEN” network.

I’ve asked Metacafe and The Collective for comment.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik