Fullscreen’s investors include Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group, Comcast Ventures and global ad agency WPP.
Reps for Fullscreen and Relativity declined to comment.
Big entertainment companies have been gaga over MCNs recently, seeking to tap into the fast-growing universe of digital talent and viewers. In addition Disney’s takeover of Maker, Warner Bros. has taken a minority stake in Machinima, an MCN focused on young male audiences, and has made an investment in TV4 Entertainment, a startup building a portfolio of special-interest broadband television networks founded by Jon Cody, former head of Fox Digital Media. Last year, DreamWorks Animation bought AwesomenessTV (which in turn acquired Big Frame last month).
Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity made an eleventh-hour offer for Maker Studios on April 13, offering up to $1.1 billion in mostly stock with a cash component, promising Maker execs and creators better financial rewards than with Disney’s cash bid of up to $950 million. But Maker said the Disney deal had already been approved by the majority of its shareholders.
Fullscreen was founded in January 2011 by CEO George Strompolos, a co-creator of the YouTube Partner Program. In an interview with Variety last month, Strompolos said the company was not publicly entertaining major studio suitors but said he does see value in combining with a large entertainment conglom like Disney.
“A company getting acquired would benefit from deeper access to capital,” Strompolos said. “There is something to be said for ‘upstreaming’ the best creators, the best intellectual property into more of the avenues that traditional media (offers). We see a lot of promise there in years to come.”
The MCN works with YouTube creators including The Fine Bros., whose TV series “ReactToThat” was just greenlit by Nickelodeon, filmmaker Devin Super Tramp and musician Lindsey Stirling. This week, Fullscreen announced a deal with YouTube star Grace Helbig.
According to Fullscreen, its 15,000-plus YouTube channels generate more than 3 billion monthly video views and reaches more than 300 million subscribers.