Hearst to Relaunch Seventeen Mag YouTube Channel with AwesomenessTV

New version of teen magazine's presence on the site slated to bow in Q1 2014


Hearst has formed a joint venture with DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV to relaunch the YouTube channel for the publisher’s teen-girl mag Seventeen, hoping to tap into AwesomenessTV’s expertise and audience of 60 million younger-skewing viewers.

The new version of Seventeen’s YouTube channel is slated to launch in the first quarter of 2014. AwesomenessTV will create all the content, with a dedicated staff of about a half-dozen producers, while Hearst will handle ad sales.

Video content on the channel will revolve around health and beauty, music and celeb segments. AwesomenessTV plans to create a multichannel network for the brand, to let teen girls produce their own channels similar to the model formulated for the AwesomenessTV MCN. Eventually, Seventeen’s YouTube lineup will grow to encompass original scripted series, AwesomenessTV CEO Brian Robbins said.

“I think we’ve had great success with that audience — teen girls — and Hearst thought it was a great fit for us,” Robbins said. Before starting AwesomenessTV, he created TV shows aimed at teen auds, including “One Tree Hill” for The CW.

Seventeen’s current YouTube channel has about 100,000 subscribers and has delivered 87.4 million views to date. By comparison, AwesomenessTV — launched in May 2012 — now has 26 million subscribers across its entire MCN, with more than 60 million unique monthly visitors, and has served more than 2 billion views.

AwesomenessTV has already hired staff for the Hearst partnership, which has been in the works for a few months, including former StyleHaul exec producer Melody Hammer. AwesomenessTV will cross-promote the Seventeen YouTube MCN on its own channels and vice versa, while Hearst will market the destination in print and online.

“If you’re a teen online, we want to be part of it,” Robbins said.

DreamWorks Animation acquired AwesomenessTV in May for $33 million, though the deal could be worth up to $117 million over the next two years if AwesomenessTV hits performance targets. AwesomenessTV has a deal with Viacom’s Nickelodeon for a half-hour show based on its YouTube programming.

Separately, Hearst formed a partnership with NBCUniversal to create Esquire Network, which debuted last month. That replaced NBCU’s Style channel.

Other traditional publishers including Condé Nast Enterprises and Time Inc. recently have launched Internet video extensions of their magazine brands, both on and off YouTube.