Fullscreen, With Comcast and WPP Backing, to Expand Into Studio Model

Prior investor Chernin Group leads funding round in YouTube multichannel network

Fullscreen, a top YouTube multichannel network operator, plans to expand into financing original content after closing a round of Series A funding led by Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group, a previous investor, along with Comcast Ventures and global ad agency WPP.

Fullscreen is profitable today and intends to use the funding to invest in original programming, as well as increase its international footprint and develop new tools for advertisers to use its platform.

Initial reports of the funding, which first surfaced in April, pegged the new round at $30 million. Size of the investment was not disclosed, but it’s “sizable” by Series A terms, according to Fullscreen CEO and founder George Strompolos. “We are raising capital not to keep our lights on, but to invest in the future of online video,” he said.

Fullscreen is just the latest YouTube multichannel network to attract big money from big media companies looking to participate in the massive growth of MCNs, which draw billions of streams worldwide to the thousands of low-cost channels they manage on YouTube. Time Warner led a $36 million round in Maker Studios late last year, followed by Bertlesmann’s $6.5 million funding in StyleHaul. Chernin has been a particularly active player in the MCN space, snapping up stakes in multiple international-centric firms including Base79 and MiTu.

More recently, Discovery Communications absorbed DeFranco Creative via its Revision3 unit and DreamWorks Animation grabbed AwesomenessTV, which recently began expanding its own base of YouTube channels.

SEE ALSO: Media Bigs Flock to YouTube Power Players

Comcast-owned NBC Entertainment was the first network to use Fullscreen to manage its presence on YouTube, said Sam Landman, principal at Comcast Ventures.

“As the video ecosystem evolves rapidly, Fullscreen is fusing technology and services to simplify operations and maximize opportunity for brand marketers and creators,” Landman said in a statement. “The company has done an incredible job raising the profile of top talent and brands, bringing their content to the forefront.”

For WPP, “Fullscreen’s model offers unique solutions for both brands and talent, and incredible opportunities for collaboration on both sides,” Mark Read, CEO of WPP Digital, said in a statement. “Our partnership with Fullscreen will give our agencies and clients new expertise, insights, technology and access to help connect with consumers on the world’s largest video platform.”

While Fullscreen is known as a network of YouTube creators, “you’ll see the evolution of us to Fullscreen as a studio,” Strompolos said. “We now can have a vested interest in certain (intellectual property) and fulfill our mission of becoming a global media company.”

Only a handful of companies have grown up with YouTube creators and understand how to make money on it, Strompolos continued.

“We think there’s a real opportunity to incubate and program some of the iconic media brands for millennials,” he said, referring to the 13-25 demo that gravitates to YouTube. “What is the Comedy Central for millennials? I don’t think that’s defined yet.”

Fullscreen, based in Culver City, Calif., generates 2.5 billion monthly video views from 10,000-plus channels and reaches more than 150 million subscribers. Strompolos founded the startup in January 2011. Fullscreen has about 160 employees.

Company’s client roster includes NBCUniversal and Ryan Seacrest Prods., as well as talent including dubstep violinist Lindsey Stirling and filmmaker Devin Super Tramp.

More Digital

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Release of Docs to Reveal How Facebook Made Money Off Children

    Documents related to a 2012 lawsuit against Facebook in which children, sometimes unwittingly, spent their parents’ money on games via the social site will be unsealed, according to a Monday ruling from the United States District Court. The court gave Facebook ten days to file unredacted documents in accordance with the ruling. The 2012 lawsuit [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Sets Up New Product Group for AR Glasses (Report)

    Facebook has restructured its augmented and virtual reality research division and set up a new group tasked with building augmented reality (AR) glasses, according to a new Business Insider report. Facebook acknowledged the move in a statement given to the publication, saying that the move affected “a few hundred people.” The group has already built [...]

  • nba-the-bounce-logo

    NBA, Turner to Debut Three-Hour Primetime Live Studio Show on Yahoo Sports

    Coming next week: a new NBA primetime show — delivered over the internet — covering all the live action and storylines of the evening. The NBA is teaming with Turner Sports and Yahoo to produce a live nightly show designed for mobile viewers in a three-hour block, slated to run five nights per week on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content