Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source close to the matter tells Variety that the investment totalled $3 million, resulting in Chernin owning 25% to 30% of the company. Funds will help expand MiTu’s operations in the U.S., Mexico and Colombia.
Chernin led an investor group which included Machinima chairman and CEO Allen DeBevoise, Juan Cristobal Ferrer of Mexico ad agency Ferrer Comunicacion, Shari Redstone’s venture capital firm Advancit Capital and CODE Advisors. TCG will join MiTu’s board of directors, according to a statement released Tuesday announcing the deal.
Founded by Latino TV industryites Doug Greiff, Beatriz Acevedo, and Roy Burstin, MiTu partners with Latino content creators to launch and grow their YouTube channels. Its network includes beauty, fashion, health, food and pop culture on more than 350 channels from North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Since its launch seven months ago, MiTu has amassed more than 800 million views and counts more than 2.3 million subscribers.
While they may not operate on traditional media platforms, digital operators like MiTu, Maker Studios and Machinima have been able to aggregate comparable viewership for programming that’s often much cheaper to produce than television or films. And that’s attracting the attention of bigger media companies.
After taking a small stake in Fullscreen last year, Chernin Group invested in another MCN in the U.K., Base79, earlier in November. And Time Warner has been eyeing an investment in Maker (Daily Variety, Nov. 14).
Aligning with younger upstarts also allows the traditional media players to better hedge against the uncertainty of an increasingly digital future.
“The MiTu opportunity combines two powerful trends: one, the Latino audience is one of the fastest-growing and youngest demographics in the world and two, YouTube is the largest and fastest-growing online video platform in the world,” said Peter Chernin, founder and CEO of TCG. “MiTu not only identified those two trends, but also has been aggressive and smart about launching a consumer-focused brand in this market, targeting a younger Latino audience whose needs are unmet by traditional television. The early results have been astounding and we’re thrilled to partner with them to continue to grow the business.”
Strategic Law Partners LLP provided legal counsel to TCG. Gunderson Dettmer provided legal counsel to MiTu.