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NewFronts 2015: Fullscreen Acquires Social-Media Studio McBeard

Fullscreen has acquired McBeard, a social-media studio that creates branded content for clients including Netflix, 20th Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures.

Fullscreen is announcing the deal, which lets it further diversify beyond the core YouTube multichannel network business, at its first Digital Content NewFronts presentation Monday in New York. Financial terms were not disclosed.

L.A.-based McBeard has more than 100 employees, who create content for clients distributed via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Snapchat. Fullscreen touted the acquisition as beefing up its ability to develop, produce and distribute social content at high scale on behalf of its creator partners, content production units and major brand partners.

“The way people consume content today is dramatically different, so it’s important to create differently in order to reach them,” George Strompolos, Fullscreen’s founder and CEO, said in announcing the deal. “The McBeard team has mastered the art and science of creating social content that people love to engage with and share.”

Last year, Fullscreen acquired Rooster Teeth, a pioneering digital production studio based in Austin, and the company is expanding into full-length films as well. Fullscreen, one of the largest YouTube MCNs, is owned by Otter Media, a joint venture between AT&T and Chernin Group.

McBeard was founded in October 2008 by principals Alec McNayr and Alan Beard. It will operate as a unit with Fullscreen, continuing to work with clients that also include Coca-Cola, Mary Kay and Mattel. In addition, McBeard is collaborating with Fullscreen on the AT&T-sponsored series “@SummerBreak” and “SnapperHero,” which is touted as the first scripted series produced for Snapchat.

With the addition of McBeard, Fullscreen is signalling that it wants to ramp up sponsored content and integrated-marketing programs. Fullscreen previously has produced content for brands including General Electric, Mattel, Universal Pictures, Mondelez and Ford.

The main piece of Fullscreen’s business continues to revolve around a network of nearly 70,000 creators. Those include such digital stars as Grace Helbig, Shane Dawson, the Fine Bros., Andrea Russett, Lohanthony and Vine creators Jack & Jack.

Fullscreen is hosting its NewFronts presentation at Highline Stages venue in New York City’s Meatpacking District. In addition to Strompolos, speakers are slated to include president Ezra Cooperstein, with appearances by Peter Chernin, CEO of the Chernin Group, and AT&T Mobility chief marketing officer David Christopher. Vlogger Andrea Russett, Jack & Jack and Rooster Teeth’s Burnie Burns are also on deck.

Other news to be featured at the event:

  • Fullscreen is developing product solutions with measurement companies Nielsen and Millward Brown to track custom content and influencer marketing reach compared with linear TV;
  • Eva Gutowski (“MyLifeAsEva”), a YouTube vlogger with 2.4 million followers who covers fashion, lifesytle and DIY topics, is joining the Fullscreen MCN;
  • Fullscreen will show a preview of “#O2LForever,” a documentary film featuring vlogging supergroup O2L (Our Second Life) while on their 2014 DigiTour before they broke up; and movie “The Outfield,” starring Vine stars Cameron Dallas and Nash Grier as varsity baseball players navigating difficult choices on and off the field entering their senior year of high school.

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