Andrew Sugerman, executive VP of publishing and digital media for Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, touted the synergies already at work in a Q&A on Friday at Vidcon in Anaheim, not far from the conglomerate’s theme park.
Disney revealed in May at its newfront presentation that Maker was folded into a new entity, Disney Digital Network, that encompasses a broad range of digital channel including all social accounts, leading websites like Disney.com and a branded content studio. The resulting network reaches 1 billion consumers worldwide with a heavy skew toward millennials and Generation Z.
“In bringing Maker in, we’ve made a much more robust network in an extraordinarily engaged and extraordinarily large audience globally,” said Sugerman.
Case in point: Polaris, a gaming-themed network that launched at Maker before its acquisition, continues to operate and will lend some of its influencer talent to a programming block on cable channel Disney XD launching next month. In addition, Maker-bred talent Alexys Gabrielle, has begun to be incorporated into the Oh My Disney digital effort.
Maker Studios was acquired by Disney in 2014 for $675 million. It was initially placed under the oversight of Jay Rasulo, who stepped down from the CFO post in mid-2015.
Maker Studios was once comprised of some 60,000 YouTube channels. Now Disney has pruned the roster down to under 1,000 Maker creators with Disney’s family-safe brand and corporate objectives.
“It just seemed to make sense that rather than build two parallel audiences, we should bring that together for a singular audience into a what we’re already doing on the digital side,” said Sugerman.