Verizon Communications took steps this week to boost its position with consumers seeking access to video content on the go with an agreement to acquire a 25.4% stake in the AwesomenessTV online digital entertainment network. Announced Wednesday, the agreement values AwesomenessTV—already a provider of content for the Verizon Wireless “Go90”mobile video app—at $650 million. AwesomenessTV is also backed by Dreamworks Animation and by Hearst Corp, which will continue to hold stakes of 51% and 24.5%, respectively, in the venture upon completion of the Verizon deal. A top attraction on YouTube, AwesomenessTV has set itself apart by creating programs in which each episode is ten minutes long and in which each season consists of ten mini-episodes. These programs are targeted to young adults in the 18-34 age range, and an official of AwesomenessTV asserted that the Verizon investment will provide his company with the financial wherewithal it needs to attract “big name” talent. As part of the deal, Verizon and AwesomenessTV will create new content streams under a new brand name that will be available exclusively on Go90 or on other Verizon platforms within the U.S. AwesomenessTV, meanwhile, will retain the right to market that content to providers in foreign markets.
The parties expect to complete the transaction within 60 days. As DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg applauded the agreement as “a transformational step, not just for AwesomenessTV, but also for the entire mobile video landscape,” Verizon executive vice president Marni Walden told reporters: “the content AwesomenessTV has produced for Go90 has exceeded all of our expectations . . . [which is] why we want to be in the AwesomenessTV business.”