Awesomeness — the digital media company formerly known as AwesomenessTV — announced a movie deal with Netflix, as well as five series renewals and plans to launch a Awesomeness News, a new Gen Z-targeted news brand.
The goal of the pitch: to position Awesomeness as focused like no other media company on Generation Z, loosely defined as comprising those born around 2000. The programming slate and initiatives were announced Monday at Awesomeness’s Digital Content NewFronts presentation, held at the Samsung 837 event venue in Manhattan’s meatpacking district.
The company’s Awesomeness Films unit will release its Netflix original film “You Get Me” (pictured above) on Friday, June 16. The movie — billed as a teen version of “Fatal Attraction”— stars Bella Thorne (“Famous in Love”), Halston Sage (“Before I Fall”), Taylor John Smith (“American Crime”), Anna Akana (“Miss 2059”), and Nash Grier (“The Outfield”).
The Netflix original movie follows Tyler (Smith), a high-school student who is crazy in love with his perfect girlfriend Ali (Sage). When a fight sends him spiraling, he lands in the arms of sexy out-of-towner Holly (Thorne) who shows him a night he won’t forget.
The AwesomenessTV division announced new seasons of “Freakish” on Hulu, “Foursome” on YouTube Red, “Guidance” and “t@gged” on Verizon’s Go90 and “The Commute” on AwesomenessTV.
In addition, Awesomeness outlined plans to launch Awesomeness News, which will deliver content focused on “socially conscious” issues, such as politics, the environment and social justice, through a lens for Gen Z viewers. Awesomeness News will be available on all AwesomenessTV platforms.
“Our new and returning slate of programming — across all the platforms [Gen Z audiences] use — reflects the unique, evolving relationship that Awesomeness has with Gen Z,” said Awesomeness president Brett Bouttier, who took over running the company after co-founder Brian Robbins announced earlier this year that he was leaving the company.
In the pitch to marketers and ad buyers, Bouttier was joined on stage by Awesomeness-affiliated talent including digital influencer Liza Koshy, star of “Freakish”; Claudia Sulewski, star of “t@gged” and “The Commute”; and Hannah Macpherson, creator of “t@gged.” In addition, the event featured presentations by Awesomeness’s chief business officer, Kelly Day; head of partnerships Paul Kelly; and Carrie Franklin, newly announced as head of the millennial-mom-targeted Awestruck network.
Franklin, who joined Awesomeness from ABC Digital Studios, announced that Awestruck has signed singer-actress-author Kelly Rowland to the network. The company launched Rowland’s YouTube channel on Monday, which will showcase her life as a working woman and mom to 2-year-old Titan. The Awestruck talent roster also includes Zoe Saldana, Molly Sims, Mario Lopez, GloZell Green, Kandee Johnson, and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jennifer “JWOWW” Farley (of “Jersey Shore” fame).
Day touted the growth of the company’s DreamWorksTV YouTube channel, which has 2.8 million subscribers and 1.7 billion lifetime views. The channel features more than 2,500 episodes of original series such as “Life Hacks for Kids” and “Songs That Stick.” So far in 2017, DreamWorksTV added 500,000 subs, according to the company.
Awesomeness is majority-owned by Comcast (through its acquisition of DreamWorks Animation), with minority stakes held by Verizon and Hearst.
Also at the event — which lasted less than an hour — Awesomeness announced an expansive branded-content deal with retailer Hollister Co. The companies are launching an original series, “This Is Summer,” on May 20 on AwesomenessTV’s YouTube channel. The show follows a group of high schoolers in San Francisco as they navigate some of the most important and adventurous times of their lives. Awesomeness and Hollister also will release songs and music videos inspired by the series, featuring performance by Awesomeness talent and cast. The soundtrack from “This Is Summer” will be available to stream on Spotify and will play in Hollister stores later this year.
In addition, the company announced the release of a new report, “Gen Z: The Audience You Can’t Ignore,” produced in collaboration with Trendera. The study focuses on the digital-native generation and how they’re posted to reshape the use of technology and change social norms.