Lionsgate is the latest Hollywood studio expanding its presence in the YouTube space, announcing a content-development pact with RocketJump Studios, the digital studio whose biggest hit is the “Video Game High School” series.
Under the deal, Lionsgate has access to RocketJump’s upcoming slate of digital content, in-house talent and fan base. RocketJump said it will be able to take advantage of Lionsgate’s development and global marketing capabilities to produce additional long-form projects and to expand its roster of weekly shorts, podcasts and tutorials.
“This partnership unites two entrepreneurial companies with similar cultures and a shared commitment to build new models for creating and delivering content to the next generation of audiences,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in announcing the deal.
YouTube multichannel newtorks and other digital-media content creators have attracted intense interest from Hollywood players recently. Most notably, Disney plans to acquire Maker Studios in a $500 million-plus deal — while Relativity Media on Sunday launched a rival bid in an offer to Maker’s board promising better financial rewards for execs and talent.
RocketJump remains affiliated with YouTube MCN Collective Digital Studios, a subsidiary of L.A.-based The Collective, a management and production company owned by its founders and GF Capital Private Equity Fund. CDS last month announced that German broadcasting giant ProSiebenSat.1 bought a 20% stake in the company.
Lionsgate is the studio best known for its hit “The Hunger Games,” “Twilight” and “Divergent” franchises. RocketJump, founded four years ago, has launched a range of properties on YouTube and RocketJump.com that have garnered 6.8 million subscribers and nearly 1 billion views across all platforms. The live-action series “Video Game High School” (pictured above) is now in its third season.
Feltheimer called RocketJump co-founder Freddie Wong “one of digital media’s most prolific and visionary creators… RocketJump is a bold and innovative platform that expands the breadth and diversity of content we bring to our audiences and extends our storytelling abilities in exciting new directions.”
Lionsgate’s digital portfolio also includes a stake in Defy Media, an Internet video producer formed last year with the merger of Alloy Digital and Break Media, and the BeFit branded fitness channel on YouTube. In addition, Lionsgate produces “Orange Is the New Black” for Netflix and the new comedy “Deadbeat” for Hulu.
“Lionsgate stood out as the one studio that really gets our brand and will give us the freedom to flourish as digital content creators and distributors,” Wong said in a statement. “It’s rare to find a corporate partner who encourages true creativity, but our meetings with Lionsgate’s creative team convinced us that this is the right move for RocketJump and our millions of fans.”