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.

More Digital

  • Gena Konstantinakos - Topic

    Topic Hires Viceland's Gena Konstantinakos as VP, Development and Video Programming

    Topic, First Look Media’s entertainment studio and digital destination for original content, hired veteran producer Gena Konstantinakos as VP, development and video programming. Konstantinakos hails from Vice Media’s Viceland cable channel, where she was executive producer, development and current series. At Topic, she reports to Ryan Chanatry, general manager of Topic. Konstantinakos is tasked with [...]

  • Martin Kon - YouTube

    YouTube Hires Consultant Martin Kon as VP of Strategy

    Google’s YouTube tapped Martin Kon, who has worked as a tech, media, and telecoms consultant for more than two decades, as VP of strategy. Kon, based at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, Calif., reports to chief business officer Robert Kyncl. Kon will work with YouTube senior execs to help formulate the long-term vision of the [...]

  • Sonos One

    Sonos Sues Competitor Bluesound for Patent Infringement

    Smart speaker maker Sonos has sued Lenbrook Industries, the company behind the audio brand Bluesound, for patent infringement. It’s the second such lawsuit from Sonos against a competitor, which has also been using its patents to gain concessions from the makers of voice assistants. In the lawsuit filed late last week in a California court, [...]

  • tubi tv roku

    Ad-Supported Video Service Tubi Tops 20 Million Monthly Active Users

    Ad-supported video service Tubi broke its own audience records in May: Tubi, which positions itself as a free alternative to Netflix, surpassed 20 million monthly active users last month, the company said Monday. The service’s users viewed more than 94 million hours of programming in May, according to Tubi, which also claimed to have brought [...]

  • First Media - Chris Athanassopoulos, Jocelyn

    First Media Names Chris Athanassopoulos CFO, Jocelyn Johnson as SVP of Brand

    First Media, the media company focused on millennial women audiences whose brands include BabyFirst TV, announced two new members of its executive team as it eyes expansion in 2019. Chris Athanassopoulos, previously Twentieth Century Fox’s VP finance for worldwide TV distribution, has joined First Media as its chief finance officer. (First Media’s previous CFO, Karl [...]

  • Chris Thorne - Beats

    Apple's Beats by Dre Taps Chris Thorne as Chief Marketing Officer

    Beats by Dr. Dre, Apple’s audio-products subsidiary, announced Chris Thorne — whose past gigs have included stints at EA and Jessica Alba’s The Honest Co. — as its chief marketing officer. Thorne takes on the CMO role after the departure earlier this year of Jason White, formerly Beats’ EVP and global head of marketing, who [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content