Viacom acquires Gen Z-focused digital media company AwesomenessTV
- Viacom has acquired AwesomenessTV, a digital media company targeting youth audiences, according to Variety. AwesomenessTV was majority-owned by Comcast/NBCUniversal, and Verizon and Hearst also held stakes.
- While terms of the deal were not disclosed, sources told Variety that Viacom is paying less than $300 million for the company. AwesomenessTV's valuation in 2016 was $650 million.
- AwesomenessTV will be integrated into Viacom's brand portfolio and fall under Viacom Digital Studios, which is led by Kelly Day, the former chief business officer of AwesomenessTV. Jordan Levin, the current CEO of AwesomenessTV, will depart the company after a transition period, per Variety.
By acquiring AwesomenessTV, Viacom, which owns the movie studio Paramount and TV networks like Nickelodeon and MTV, is continuing to expand its digital portfolio in a bid to court younger viewers who are watching traditional linear channels less frequently. The number of consumers without paid cable or satellite TV subscriptions is expected to reach 33 million people this year, a 32.8% increase higher than previous estimates, according to recent eMarketer forecasts.
AwesomenessTV currently reaches 158 million unique users and has about 300 million monthly views, along with a content library covering more than 200 hours of TV series and feature films, per Variety. The digital media company also has existing relationships with big-name brands that have a strong pull with young consumer segments like Gen Z, such as Gatorade, Hollister, Invisalign and Kraft, per TechCrunch.
AwesomenessTV might have additionally held appeal due to its branded digital content work. In February, for example, Hollister created a 12-episode original YouTube series called "The Carpe Life" in partnership with AwesomenessTV that starred social influencers. The campaign also featured branded events, including an AwesomenessTV x Hollister Beach House.
In February, Viacom moved to acquire VidCon, an event similar to Comic-Con that focuses on connecting online video content creators and influencers with their fans. The month prior, it purchased the influencer marketing firm Whosay, which specializes in targeting younger audiences.