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Hearst Buys Stake in AwesomenessTV

Hearst Corp. has acquired a 25 percent interest in DreamWorks Animation SKG’s AwesomenessTV for $81.3 million, strengthening an online partnership in the YouTube network, the companies announced on Thursday. The partnership between the Glendale studio and the New York media company will allow the YouTube network to open new content channels and expand its geographic and audience reach. It also will give the network access to Hearst’s subscription video-on-demand technology, which the companies said will rapidly accelerate the ability of the network to offer content in all formats. “This is an extremely exciting partnership for AwesomenessTV and DreamWorks as we continue to implement our long-term strategy to maximize the value of our content and properties through multiple distribution platforms,” said DreamWorks Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, in a prepared statement. DreamWorks acquired the Los Angeles YouTube network a year ago for $33 million, with additional payments of up to $117 million if certain earnings targets are met in the next two years. The Hearst acquisition now values Awesomeness at $325 million. Founder Brian Robbins and President Brett Bouttier will continue to lead the network. AwesomnessTV produces content aimed at young people in their early to late teens. The network’s lineup includes short form videos on fashion, pop culture, celebrities, comedy sketches, reality programming, and the dramas “Runaways” and “Side Effects.” It draws nearly 800 million monthly views and has a subscriber base that totals over 114 million. “Few companies have built the global audience of millennial females as quickly as AwesomenessTV,” said Hearst Chief Executive Steven Swartz. “For us, it’s very important to make a bet on the future of how content is created. Together, in partnership with DreamWorks, we see great opportunity in supporting the consumer media franchise that AwesomenessTV continues to build.” The investment follows a joint venture announced earlier this year that DreamWorks formed with Hearst to create a YouTube channel aimed at the readers of Seventeen magazine on AwesomenessTV. Shares of DreamWorks closed unchanged at $21.71 on the Nasdaq prior to the announcement.

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