by Brian Robbins and Joe Davola
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|Parent||Viacom Digital Studios|
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 company operates a talent division, branded entertainment division, consumer products division, publishing division, music division, and global network of affiliate YouTube channels.
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.
The AwesomenessTV Network, or Multi-Channel Network (MCN), launched in December 2012 and has since grown to include 90,000 channels from YouTube creators around the world.
2013-2018: DreamWorks Animation era
One year after the company was established, AwesomenessTV was acquired by DreamWorks Animation for $33 million in cash, it's one of the first acquisitions of a Multi-channel network by a larger corporation and the largest deals of its kind at that time.
With parent company DreamWorks Animation, AwesomenessTV launched DreamWorksTV, a YouTube channel aimed at families and kids ages 6 to 12. DreamWorksTV offers original animation and live action shows and features well-known DreamWorks Animation characters (like Shrek, Puss in Boots, and Kung Fu Panda).
In October 2013, AwesomenessTV teamed up with Seventeen Magazine and Hearst Corporation to produce and manage Seventeen’s YouTube channel, featuring fashion, food, beauty, celebrity and lifestyle content.
Also in April 2014, AwesomenessTV debuted its consumer products division led by Jim Fielding, former CEO of Claire’s and President of Disney Stores Worldwide. In November 2014, the company launched a holiday retail pop-up shop called Scene@AwesomenessTV in Los Angeles, California.
The publishing imprint, AwesomenessINK, launched in October 2014 with two young adult novels Runaways and Side Effects based on hit AwesomenessTV web series. In December, DreamWorks Animation sold a 25% stake in AwesomenessTV for $81.25 million to the Hearst Corporation.
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 February 22, 2017, Brian Robbins stepped down as AwesomenessTV's CEO, thus ending his five year run with the company.
On November 1, 2017, it was announced that Kelly Day will step down as Chief Business Officer to become the CEO for Viacom Digital Studios.
2018-present: Viacom era
On July 25, 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 acquired AwesomenessTV for $25-50 million and integrated the company into Viacom Digital Studios. Jordan Levin will leave his position as CEO following the acquisition. However, the deal does not include the DreamWorksTV YouTube channel, which is still retained by NBCUniversal, where it will be integrated into NBCU Digital Enterprises Group, a new digital entertainment division led by president Maggie Suniewick. On July 30, 2018, Variety reported that the deal is worth at least $50 million.
With its affiliated channels, AwesomenessTV has generated over 17 billion lifetime video views, with over 150 million subscribers, as of April 2016.
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 September 2014, AwesomenessTV launched the new consumer product brand S.o. R.a.d. and partnered with Kohl’s Department Stores to release the first of seven capsule junior’s fashion line of the same name. The S.o. R.a.d. collection at Kohl’s is supported by four original YouTube series, “Life’s S.o. R.a.d.”, produced and distributed by AwesomenessTV and featuring a range of YouTube talent.
- Spangler, Todd (July 27, 2018). "Viacom Acquires AwesomenessTV; CEO Jordan Levin to Depart". Variety. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Chmielewski, Dawn (July 27, 2018). "Viacom Acquires AwesomenessTV; CEO Jordan Levin To Depart". Deadline. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Gillette, Felix. "Hollywood's Big-Money YouTube Hit Factory". Bloomberg Businessweek. August 28, 2014.
- Brian Robbins and Joe Davola, AwesomenessTV. The Paley Center for Media. May 6, 2014.
- Chmielewski, Dawn. OMG, it's a YouTube channel just for millennials. LA Times. June 24, 2012.
- Variety's New Leaders. Variety. October 24, 2012.
- Shaw, Lucas. AwesomenessTV Tops 1 Billion Views By Adding Austin Mahone, The Janoskians. The Wrap. June 6, 2013.
- Shaw, Lucas. Can Big Frame Build a Management Company for Internet Stars? The Wrap. June 18, 2014.
- Lieberman, David. DreamWorks Animation Agrees To Pay $33M+ For AwesomenessTV. Deadline. May 1, 2013.
- Spangler, Todd.DreamWorks Animation Launches YouTube Channel with Shrek, Original Series and More. Variety. June 16, 2014.
- Taintor, David. "Hearst, AwesomenessTV to Launch YouTube Effort for Seventeen". Adweek. October 16, 2013.
- Jarvey, Natalie. AwesomenessTV to Buy YouTube MCN Big Frame for $15 Million. The Hollywood Reporter. April 2, 2014.
- Lieberman, David. AwesomenessTV To Enter The Licensed Merchandise Business. Deadline. April 8, 2014.
- Shamout, Omar. "Online Network Channels Retail". Los Angeles Business Journal. October 20, 2014.
- Atkinson, Claire. "Universal Music looking to cater to the YouTube crowd". New York Post. July 20, 2014.
- Trachtenberg, Jeffrey and Winkler, Rolfe. From YouTube Stars, Literary Lions. Wall Street Journal. October 12, 2014.
- Verrier, Richard (December 11, 2014). "Hearst Corp. buys 25% stake in AwesomenessTV". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times Media Group. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
- "Netflix Picks Up 'Richie Rich' Live-Action Comedy from AwesomenessTV". Variety. October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
- Hipes, Patrick (June 23, 2015). "AwesomenessTV Taps Former Lionsgate Exec As Film Boss". Deadline. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- "DHX to Bring AwesomenessTV Shows to Canadian Television". Variety. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
- "Family Channel's new teen block F2N launches January 4 with the premiere of Degrassi: Next Class" (Press release). CNW. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- Spangler, Todd (April 6, 2016). "Verizon to Acquire 24.5% Stake in AwesomenessTV for $159 Million". Variety. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Brian Robbins and AwesomenessTV. The Hollywood Reporter. February 22, 2017 by Natalie Jarvey.
- Spangler, Todd (1 November 2017). "Viacom Taps AwesomenessTV's Kelly Day as President of Newly Created Digital Studios Unit". Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- Spangler, Todd (July 25, 2018). "Viacom in Talks to Buy AwesomenessTV". Variety. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Hayes, Dade (July 25, 2018). "Viacom In Talks To Acquire AwesomenessTV At Attractive Discount". Deadline. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Spangler, Todd (30 July 2018). "Viacom's AwesomenessTV Deal Worth More Than $50 Million: Sources". Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- Spangler, Todd. "Viacom's AwesomenessTV Deal Worth More Than $50 Million: Sources". Variety. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- "Is a DreamWorks Deal Perfect for Comcast?". NASDAQ.com. 2016-04-28. Retrieved 2018-01-04.
- to Premiere Season 2 of AWESOMENESSTV. Broadway World. May 1, 2014.
- Jarvey, Natalie. Lionsgate Acquires Worldwide Rights to The SMOSH Movie. The Hollywood Reporter. September 18, 2014.
- "Old Navy CMO Aims to Lessen Brand's Reliance on TV". Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- "YouTube Net AwesomenessTV Steals TV Spend for Royal Caribbean Series". Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- Shields, Mike. Kohl's Partners With DreamWorks Unit to Market to Teens. Wall Street Journal. September 3, 2014.