×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Snow White

    What's Coming to Disney Plus Starting in November

    Disney unveiled the complete list of films to premiere on its streaming service Disney Plus via a lengthy Twitter thread Monday. With its powerhouse catalog including Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and National Geographic properties, the full magnitude of the Disney empire will be seen once the streaming service launches. Along with Disney originals previously announced [...]

  • Stock market

    Trading In Music's Futures: How to Cash In on the Industry's Gold Rush (Guest Column)

    The music industry is entering a time of financial prosperity thanks to the widespread use of streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. According to a recent report by Musicwatch, 77% of all internet users in the U.S. stream music, while Goldman Sachs projects a revenue pot of $34 billion by 2030. Finally, the [...]

  • Grace Helbig

    Grace Helbig Hosting Facebook Watch Show 'Ladies First' About Empowered Women

    Longtime YouTube creator Grace Helbig has a new series — coming to Facebook Watch. In the unscripted eight-episode show “Ladies First with Grace Helbig,” set to premiere Tuesday, Oct. 22, the digital star sits down with a series of “empowered women” to learn about how they’re making a positive impact. Guests include actress-comedian Margaret Cho, [...]

  • Fortnite-Season-X-Out-of-Time

    'Fortnite' Goes Dark: A Masterful Marketing Stroke by Epic Games

    On Sunday, “Fortnite” — the most popular game on Earth right now — without warning, imploded into darkness. At around 2 p.m. ET on Oct. 13, a meteor in Season 10 of “Fortnite” that had been biding its time set off a cataclysmic chain reaction that sucked up everything on the the island and eventually [...]

  • reddit-snapshat-sharing

    Reddit Adds Snapchat Sharing to Its iOS App

    In a first such integration with other social networks, Reddit has added an option to share content from its iOS app to Snapchat. iPhone users can now share Reddit posts with their contacts on Snapchat, or add Reddit content to their Snapchat stories. Anything shared on Snapchat includes a special Reddit sticker, and links back [...]

  • tubi kids

    Tubi to Launch Tubi Kids, U.K. Offshoot

    Ad-supported video streaming service Tubi is the latest to jump on the children’s entertainment bandwagon: Tubi is set to launch a dedicated kids section on Oct. 21, the company announced at Mipcom in Cannes Monday. Additionally, Tubi will also bring its service to the U.K. early next year. Tubi’s new kids section will offer access [...]

  • Terry Back chairman ACF

    Veteran U.K. Media Investor Terry Back Joins ACF as Chairman

    CANNES — Veteran U.K. film industry investor Terry Back has joined ACF investment bank as chairman. ACF, headed by CEO Thomas Dey, has been at the forefront of the M&A activity around independent TV and film production outfits, mostly in the unscripted TV arena. ACF is in the midst of expanding its activities in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content