Peter Kafka

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Done Deal! DreamWorks Paying $33 Million, and Maybe Much More, for AwesomenessTV.

awesomenesstv_babysittingThere we go: That DreamWorks Animation/AwesomenessTV deal I told you about last night is now official. The people who brought you “Shrek” are paying $33 million in cash for the YouTube channel, with incentives that could push the payout to $117 million by 2015.

That’s a nice win for Awesomeness CEO Brian Robbins and his investors, who put $3.5 million into the tween-focused YouTube channel. And if Robbins and his team hit their numbers — always a very big if for any of these deals — it could end up being very nice.

This is a lot more than an “acqhire,” but the release makes it clear that DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is most interested in putting Robbins to work for him. Robbins will keep working on Awesomeness’s tween-focused YouTube channel, but he will also be put in charge of creating “a DreamWorks Animation branded digital family channel, harnessing the studio’s resources, technology and vast IP portfolio.” Given DreamWorks’ library and resources, that could end up being a very big deal.

Here’s the full release. Note the blessing of YouTube content guru Robert Kyncl, who will be presenting to advertisers tonight at a big event in New York; I wouldn’t be surprised if Robbins makes an appearance, as well.

DreamWorks Animation Acquires AwesomenessTV
Groundbreaking Alliance Marks Digital Content Milestone

GLENDALE, Calif., May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced that it has agreed to acquire AwesomenessTV, one of the most subscribed-to teen networks on YouTube. This groundbreaking deal recognizes the growing value of digital content creation and consumption.

With this deal, DreamWorks Animation will acquire a thriving next-generation media company, which though its Multi-Channel Network on YouTube has already signed up over 55,000 channels, aggregating over 14 million subscribers and 800 million video views. In addition, the AwesomenessTV brand has recently extended beyond the mobile platform into television and film, signaling continued cross-platform expansion plans. As part of DreamWorks, Brian Robbins, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of AwesomenessTV, will continue to grow the company, cultivating the brand’s distinctive content. In addition, Robbins will assume an executive role at the studio to develop a DreamWorks Animation branded digital family channel, harnessing the studio’s resources, technology and vast IP portfolio.

The Company has agreed to acquire AwesomenessTV for total up-front consideration of approximately $33 million in cash. In addition, subject to the satisfaction of certain terms and conditions described in the definitive merger agreement, the Company will be obligated to make additional contingent cash payments from time to time if certain earnings targets are met in 2014 and 2015. The maximum amount of potential contingent consideration payable is $117 million.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. DreamWorks Animation expects that the transaction will be completed during the month of May 2013.

“Awesomeness TV is one of the fastest growing content channels on the internet today and our acquisition of this groundbreaking venture will bring incredible momentum to our digital strategy,” said DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Brian Robbins has an extraordinary track record in creating family content both for traditional and new platforms and his expertise in the TV arena will be invaluable as we grow our presence in that space.”

“The acquisition of AwesomenessTV by DreamWorks Animation speaks to Jeffrey’s vision for the future of entertainment, the immense appetite for new kinds of storytelling and the power and reach of YouTube,” said Brian Robbins. “The incredible opportunity to take all the resources of this amazing global brand with beloved character franchises and create a dedicated family channel has extraordinary potential — I can’t wait to get started.”

“In a very short time, Brian Robbins has built AwesomenessTV into a powerful, next-generation, audience network on YouTube,” said Robert Kyncl, Global Head of Content for YouTube. “DreamWorks Animation’s acquisition is symbolic of the incredible evolution of online entertainment and continues the exciting momentum of creators on the platform. I look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration.”

AwesomenessTV and Robbins were represented by United Talent Agency and Ziffren Brittenham, who together incubated AwesomenessTV.

It’s the first of the YouTube-hatched video networks to get snapped up by a big media player.

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