×

AMC Networks Invests in YouTube Network DanceOn

AMC, Plus Capital and angel investors part of $4 million Series A round in dance-entertainment MCN

AMC Networks and Plus Capital led a $4 million investment round in DanceOn, a YouTube multichannel network centered on dance entertainment that is looking to expand its reach beyond the Google-owned video site.

Other investors in the L.A.-based company include Nigel Lythgoe, exec producer of “So You Think You Can Dance”; Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise and EVP Aaron DeBevoise; Guy Oseary, Madonna’s manager; Roku chief marketing officer Matthew Anderson; Luminari Capital managing partner Daniel Leff; MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan; former News Corp. digital exec Jon Miller; Zefr co-founder Rich Raddon; startup accelerator LaunchPad LA; and Klass Capital Fund. In addition, Lythgoe has joined the startup’s board.

AMC’s stake in DanceOn continues the trend of traditional media players putting more skin into the Internet video game. DreamWorks Animation acquired YouTube MCN AwesomenessTV earlier this year, while Comcast and WPP invested in Fullscreen. Backers of Maker Studios, the YouTube MCN that acquired Blip, include Time Warner Inc. and French media conglom Canal +.

With the funding, DanceOn CEO Amanda Taylor expects to grow the company from 15 employees to 25 over the next 12 months to expand distribution to multiple platforms beyond YouTube.

“YouTube is a really important part of what we do, and we’ll always be fostering a community and audience on YouTube,” she said. But, she added, “we’re really looking at growing beyond this definition of being a multichannel network… To the extent we are generating premium content, we want to be on all devices” like Roku set-tops and Xbox consoles.

DanceOn was among the 100 channels in YouTube’s original channels funding initiative in 2011. YouTube contributed additional funding to DanceOn in early 2013; however, Taylor said, Google is a partner not an equity investor.

The primary DanceOn channel on YouTube has 263,000 subscribers and 187.3 million views to date. The company claims that across all its properties (and through partners) it has about 7 million YouTube subscribers and 1.2 billion views to date, but it isn’t clear at how it arrives at those figures.

The MCN has cut deals with marketing partners including Unilever, Ubisoft and Diageo for content partnerships. In addition, DanceOn has a deal with Shine America to jointly develop projects.

According to Taylor, DanceOn’s strategy of expanding to multiple platforms is not specifically about YouTube’s revenue-sharing terms with content partners. Under its standard deal, YouTube gives content owners 55% of ad revenue sold against their videos.

DanceOn series include “Dance Showdown,” which pairs YouTube stars with professional dancers to compete for cash prizes, and “The Edge,” which profiles musical artists and dancers who perform with them including Madonna, David Guetta and wil.i.am. Taylor said the network has broad appeal, spanning professional dancers to viral wedding dances, that is unlike other music-oriented digital outlets like Vevo.

“There is no channel on television like it,” she said.

Taylor, who previously managed choreographers and dancers in New York City, founded DanceOn in her Gotham apartment in 2010. She moved the company to L.A. in January 2012 to offices at Sunset and Vine.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • STRANGER THINGS

    'Stranger Things 3' Is Most-Watched Season to Date, Netflix Says

    The Upside Down delivered upside for Netflix in the third quarter: “Stranger Things” season 3 was the most-watched season of the series to date, according to the streamer. In the first four weeks of release, “Stranger Things” season 3 was watched by 64 million member households, Netflix said in the Q3 letter to shareholders. The [...]

  • Stranger Things Season 3

    Netflix Undershoots U.S. Subscriber Adds for Q3, Beats Profit Forecast

    Netflix fell slightly short of its U.S. subscriber forecast in the third quarter — and projected lower Q4 subscriber growth than Wall Street was expecting as competition looms from Apple and Disney. Still, the company reported solid gains, announcing a Q3 record for paid subscriber additions and revenue, and handily topped analyst forecasts for profit. [...]

  • Despacito Luis Fonsi Daddy Yankee

    'Despacito' Tops Vevo's Most-Watched Videos of the Past Decade Chart

    In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, Vevo today announced its Top 10 lists of the decade’s most-watched music videos. Not surprisingly, the Most-Watched Music Video accolade goes to Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” (featuring Daddy Yankee), with 6.4 billion views since its release in early 2017. The second most-viewed video is Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” (featuring Bruno [...]

  • Dead To Me

    Streaming Shows Nearly Doubled in Last Year, Boosting Los Angeles TV Production

    Television production in Los Angeles has received a major boost from streaming shows, according to a new report from the permitting organization FilmLA. The number of new digital projects nearly doubled between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 development cycles, increasing approximately 85.3% in a year. The number of digitally distributed original series in production has increased by [...]

  • Shonda Rhimes

    Shonda Rhimes Inks Podcast Deal With iHeartMedia

    Hit-making TV writer and producer Shonda Rhimes is jumping into the podcast game in a much bigger way. Rhimes’ Shondaland production company announced a three-year pact with iHeartMedia to launch Shondaland Audio, which will produce a slate of original podcasts to be released as part of the iHeartPodcast Network. Rhimes will oversee development and Sandie [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content