FBE was founded by Brooklyn-native siblings Rafi and Benny Fine in 2004, who hit it big as YouTube creators. Rafi, who had served as CEO, will become president of the media company/studio, while Benny Fine will continue as chief content officer.
Hustvedt leaves New York-based Above Average a little over a year after he joined as CEO in May 2017. With the move to FBE, he’s relocating from New York to L.A.
As CEO, Hustvedt is tasked with leading the launch of new networks for digital-first audiences, forging alliances with strategic partners, and increasing FBE’s development of content formats for digital platforms and traditional TV.
“While I’m definitely looking forward to being back on the West Coast, I embrace the opportunity to join FBE and their mastery of engaging a community,” Hustvedt said in an email. “FBE has withstood and thrived throughout all the ebbs and flows in the digital space. They’ve pioneered this next-generation model while continually innovating formats on new ways of storytelling.”
FBE currently has 75 employees and is based in Burbank, Calif., where it has four studios. The company produces 15 weekly serialized digital series, which reach a cumulative total of 30 million subscribers and generate 250 million monthly views.
In addition, FBE’s TV production division to date has sold 15 shows, in various stages of development and production, for networks and distributors including Nickelodeon, TruTV, Freeform, and YouTube Premium. The company recently struck TV co-production and development deals with Nick Cannon’s Ncredible Entertainment, Kinetic Content, and Sonar Entertainment.
The privately held company claims it’s profitable but doesn’t disclose specific financials. Rafi Fine said Hustvedt will help take FBE to a new phase of growth.
“Marc is a proven leader who has continually innovated in the digital entertainment space,” Rafi Fine said in a statement. “As the company looks to the future and builds out these next-generation networks, we are excited to have Marc on board to help FBE fully realize this vision and continue to be part of transforming the media industry like we have for the last 14 years.”
At Above Average, Hustvedt had been moving the company beyond short web series toward longer-form projects, such as Liza Koshy’s “Liza on Demand” for YouTube Premium.
Above Average currently doesn’t have plans to hire a new CEO. In a statement, the company said, “We thank Marc for his contributions over the last year in helping position Above Average as a leader in connecting premium brands and platforms with content driven by best-in-class comedy talent and production… We wish Marc great success in his new role with the Fine Bros.”
Prior to Above Average, Hustvedt was co-founder and CEO of Supergravity Pictures, a digital-first entertainment studio and distributor acquired last year by Gunpowder & Sky. From 2011-13, he was head of entertainment at Chill, a short-lived premium online video destination whose backers included WME. Hustvedt also is a co-founder of trade publication Tubefilter and the Streamy Awards.