Funds earmarked to grow content, sales ops, distribution

Online entertainment channel Machinima, which courts males with videogame programming, has raised $35 million in a round of funding, with Google leading investors that also include returning backers Redpoint Ventures and MK Capital.

The new financing will be used to grow its Machinima’s content and global sales operations and fuel its distributions strategy and international expansion, the company said.

“With this latest round of funding, Machinima is well positioned to make the next evolutionary step in the world of multichannel video programming and distribution by expanding into original content, international territories and new platforms and devices,” said Machinima chairman-CEO Allen DeBevoise.

DeBevoise said his goal is for Machinima to become a major player in “the third wave of original video programing brands” as more consumers watch video on mobile devices.

Google’s investment in the site, which claims 4.5 million subscribers, had been expected and follows the $100 million launch of new content channels on YouTube, one of which is a Machinima channel.

“Machinima has built a brand and an audience that rivals some of the biggest channels on TV,” said David Lawee, VP of corporate development at Google. “The success and uniqueness of their business makes this a smart investment opportunity.”

Machinima claims more than 168 million unique visitors in April who generated around 1.6 billion video views. Its programming targets males 18-34.

Site will exclusively distribute Microsoft’s original Web series “Halo: Forward Unto Dawn” leading up to the launch of videogame “Halo 4″ this fall.

During MediaPost’s OMMA Video Conference, DeBevoise said the series has the potential “to be for Machinima what ‘Oz’ was for HBO” and help break out the mostly male-skewing site to mass audiences.

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