About a year ago, I pondered which animation-based YouTube channel would succeed. Still later I looked at whether or not AwesomenessTV was the prototype for YouTube channels. I wrote at the time that:
If AwesomenessTV can create a viable funding model and retain an audience, we might have a winner on our hands.
As it turns out, I was right! The company has just been snapped up by DreamWorks Animation for at least $33 million.
The deal is an important one for a number of reasons but the chief one to take away is that this is a serious investment in terms of both audience and talent on the part of DreamWorks.
On the talent side, AwesomenessTV has a subscriber base of
14 million 500,000 up from a comparatively paltry 11,000 in just 9 months. That’s truly explosive growth and it’s natural that DWA will want to have a front row seat in that. Secondly, acquiring the team behind the channel will ensure that its growth is imbued with the same hands that have guided it so far. A wise decision on the part of DreamWorks.
The audience side is where the real investment is though. With 14 million consumers and a direct line to them, DreamWorks stands to exponentially increase its exposure. The hidden fact is that you can expect a lot of data to flow up from those subscribers which leads us nicely to the truly intriguing (and overlooked) aspect to the deal.
Yes, teenagers! AwesomenessTV is aimed directly at them and I will eat my hat if the vast majority of their subscriber base aren’t in their awkward years or damned close to them. You know which other animation studios actively court teenagers? None! Disney tends to ignore teens in favour of the more moldable tweens, Nickelodeon doesn’t put a profound effort into anybody above the age of 12, Cartoon Network is just about the only network that has a presence in the teen market thanks to [Adult Swim], but they have no theatrical film division. Oother large-scale animation studios like Sony, Blue Sky, etc. play similar games; they all cater to younger audiences only.
Is Jeffrey Katzenberg subtly attempting a coup d’état of sorts of the teen market with animation? It’s certainly possible. AwesomenessTV has a history of animated content and animation is what DWA is good at, so it would seem reasonable to see the former leverage the high quality content of the latter and for both to grow their audiences as a result.
Going even further, you could parlay those teenage animation fans into adult animation fans. That’s not a far stretch especially given that the animation age ghetto currently occupies the very age group that AwesomenessTV caters to.
How will it pan out? It’s hard to say, but I was right before so can only hope that I’m right again 🙂