AwesomenessTV Holdings, LLC
AwesomenessTV
Company typeSubsidiary
FoundedJune 12, 2012; 11 years ago (2012-06-12)
Founders
Headquarters
Los Angeles, California
,
US
ParentParamount Digital Studios
Divisions
  • Awesomeness Films
  • Awesomeness Ink
  • Awesomeness News
Websiteawesomenesstv.com (now redirects to Paramount website)
Footnotes / references
[1][2]

Awesomeness (abbreviation of AwesomenessTV) is an American-based film and television studio as well as a multi-channel based multilingual television network owned by Paramount Digital Studios, a division of Paramount Global. Established in June 2012 by Brian Robbins and Joe Davola, the network initially focused on children’s programs, teen dramas, comedies, live events, and music videos targeting adolescents and young adults.

AwesomenessTV initially operated an eponymous YouTube channel and multi-channel network. The company later expanded into talent, branded content, music, publishing, and retail. In 2013, DreamWorks Animation (DWA) acquired AwesomenessTV. In 2014, Hearst Corporation acquired a 25% minority stake. In 2016, Verizon Communications acquired another roughly-quarter stake in the company for $159 million (valuing it at $650 million), while AwesomenessTV entered into a multi-year deal to produce content for Verizon's streaming video service go90.

In 2018, following NBCUniversal's acquisition of DWA (which led to conflict due to being owned by Verizon competitor Comcast) and the shutdown of the fledgling go90, Viacom acquired AwesomenessTV for around $50 million – a fraction of its 2016 valuation. Since its purchase by Viacom, the studio has focused more on long-form television series and films for over-the-top services, and has referred to itself as targeting generation Z.

History

Beginnings

In July 2012, founders Brian Robbins and Joe Davola[3] launched AwesomnessTV as part of the YouTube Original Channel Initiative, producing various web series oriented towards a tween and teenage audience. Robbins had personally observed his two sons as examples of changing media consumption trends among the demographic, which had increasingly favored short-form internet video over television.[4]

Robbins had been well known for his work on series such as One Tree Hill, Smallville, and several Nickelodeon series, such as the sketch comedy All That. In 2009, Robbins spearheaded the production of a film based on YouTube comedian Lucas Cruikshank's character Fred. Robbins and Cruikshank bankrolled it as an independent film for Nickelodeon—where it became the highest-rated basic-cable film of the year among youth in 2010 and spawned a larger franchise of Nickelodeon content featuring the character.[4]

The channel had an initial slate of 15 series in development, including the talk show IMO; the stunt shows The Blow-Up Guys, teen drama The Runaways, and Awesomeness Sports (a series of videos that would feature professional athletes and showcase youth athletes).[4] Davola compared the channel to MTV upon its launch, explaining that "it was maverick, it was brand new, it was something the young people were getting involved with."[4]

Brett Bouttier joined as a chief operating officer in November 2012.[5] In December 2012, AwesomenessTV launched a multi-channel network targeting similar demographics.[6]

2013–2018: DreamWorks and Verizon

On May 1, 2013, DreamWorks Animation announced its intent to acquire AwesomenessTV for $33 million. It was also announced that AwesomenessTV would develop and operate a YouTube channel focusing on content from DWA's franchises.[7] In October 2013, the company partnered with the teen magazine Seventeen to operate its YouTube channel.[8]

In April 2014, AwesomenessTV acquired the MCN and talent management company Big Frame for $15 million.[9] That month, the company also hired former Claire's CEO James Fielding to lead a new consumer products division.[10] In June 2014, AwesomenessTV launched DreamWorksTV, a YouTube channel that featured shorts and original series relating to DreamWorks franchises (such as Shrek, and the DreamWorks Classics library), as well as supplemental content promoting its upcoming films.[11] The following month, the record label Awesomeness Music was announced, in partnership with Universal Music Group.[12]

In September 2014, AwesomenessTV partnered with the department store chain Kohl's to launch a teen fashion line co-branded with its web series Life's S.o. R.a.d., as its first consumer product line.[13][14] In October 2014, AwesomenessTV launched the publishing label AwesomenessInk,[15] and Netflix ordered a live-action Richie Rich sitcom from AwesomenessTV as part of an ongoing development deal with DWA.[16] In December 2014, Seventeen publisher Hearst Corporation acquired a 25% stake in the company for $81.25 million.[17]

In June 2015, the company hired former Lionsgate executive Matt Kaplan as president of Awesomeness Films.[18] In August 2015, AwesomenessTV announced an output deal with Canadian children's media conglomerate DHX Media, in which the companies would co-develop and license new original content, with DHX handling international distribution and merchandising. DHX also began to acquire the studio's programming to air on its owned television network Family Channel.[19][20]

On April 6, 2016, Verizon Communications—which had acquired several series from the studio (such as Guidance) for its ad-supported streaming service go90—acquired a 24.5% stake in AwesomenessTV for $159 million, valuing the company at $650 million. Alongside the equity stake, the deal included a multi-year, $180 million investment for the studio to produce content for Verizon, for which it would hold exclusive U.S. distribution rights. Verizon and AwesomenessTV also planned to launch a branded, subscription-based video service targeting mobile devices.[21][22]

On April 28, 2016, Universal Pictures announced its intent to acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion, in a deal completed August 22, 2016.[23][24] On February 22, 2017, Brian Robbins stepped down as AwesomenessTV's CEO.[25] On November 1, 2017, it was announced that Kelly Day would step down as Chief Business Officer to become the new CEO for Viacom Digital Studios.[26]

In February 2017, it was reported that the planned premium content service with Verizon had been shelved, with content investments reallocated to go90.[27]

2018–present: Paramount

After a struggled launch and performance below expectations, Verizon shut down go90 in July 2018. Digiday reported that Verizon's content investments with AwesomenessTV had accounted for approximately 40% of the studio's revenue, which led to concerns over how the company would run without this backing.[22] The acquisition of DWA by Universal Pictures—which itself is owned by Verizon competitor Comcast

As NBCUniversal's parent company Comcast competed directly with Verizon, the two companies were unwilling to be in a joint venture with each other. The two companies had also become uninterested in the venture, as the exits of Brian Robbins and DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg had lessened the appeal of the venture to Verizon, while Comcast did not think that the company was one of DWA's core assets, or fit alongside its other digital media investments (such as BuzzFeed). The company had planned a downsizing under its new CEO Jordan Levin.[22]

On July 25, 2018, Viacom announced that it was in talks to acquire AwesomenessTV for a fraction of the company's $650 million valuation in 2016.[28][29] Two days later, on July 27, Viacom officially announced the purchase, with a valuation initially reported to be $25 million plus the assumption of debt, but later $50 million.[30] Operations of DreamWorksTV were taken in-house by NBCUniversal Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises after the purchase.[31][32] Jordan Levin left his position as CEO following the acquisition.[1][2]

Since the sale, the studio has shortened its name to Awesomeness, and has operated under Viacom Digital Studios. It has focused on productions for subscription video on-demand platforms such as Hulu, Netflix, and Paramount+ that target a generation Z audience, such as the Netflix film To All the Boys I've Loved Before, and Hulu original series PEN15—which was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards.[33][34] Viacom also launched an Awesomeness-branded channel on Pluto TV after acquiring the service in early-2019.[35][36]

Other services

Awesomeness Films

On June 23, 2015, AwesomenessTV announced its launch of a film division.[37][38][39]

Awesomeness News

In 2017, AwesomenessTV launched of a news division.[40]

Awesomeness Ink

On October 14, 2014, Awesomeness launched a digital young adult publishing unit.[41]

Filmography

Television productions

Current programming

Years Title Co-production with Network
2015–present My Dream Quinceañera N/A AwesomenessTV (2015–19)
Paramount+ (2022)[42]
2020–present Next Influencer N/A AwesomenessTV (2020–21)
Paramount+ (2022)
2023 School Spirits N/A Paramount+
2023 XO, Kitty ACE Entertainment Netflix
2023 Love Allways N/A Paramount+

Ended programming

Years Title Co-production with Network
2013–15 AwesomenessTV Nickelodeon Productions Nickelodeon
2015 Richie Rich DreamWorks Animation
(Harvey Entertainment)
Netflix
2015–17 Project Mc2 MGA Entertainment
Guidance N/A go90
2016–18 Foursome YouTube Red
T@gged go90 (2016–17)
Hulu (2018)
2016–17 Freakish Hulu
2018 My Dead Ex go90
2018–19 Light as a Feather Grammnet Productions
Wattpad Studios
Hulu
2018 All Night N/A
Overthinking with Kat & June YouTube Premium
2019–21 PEN15 Lonely Island Classics
Odenkirk Provissiero
Family Version
Hulu
2019–20 Trinkets Two Blocks Apart Productions Netflix
2020 Niki and Gabi Take Bahamas N/A AwesomenessTV
2021 Drama Club Nickelodeon Productions Nickelodeon

Film productions

Release date Title Co-production companies Distributor
June 21, 2014 Terry the Tomboy Nickelodeon Productions Nickelodeon
December 12, 2014 Expelled N/A 20th Century Fox
July 24, 2015 Smosh: The Movie Smosh Productions
Defy Media
20th Century Fox
(North America)
Netflix
(International)
October 11, 2016 Shovel Buddies Awesomeness Films
Film 360
Entertainment 360
20th Century Fox
January 21, 2017 Before I Fall Awesomeness Films
Jon Shestack Productions
Open Road Films
June 23, 2017 You Get Me Awesomeness Films Netflix
August 17, 2018 To All the Boys I've Loved Before Awesomeness Films
Overbrook Entertainment
April 12, 2019 The Perfect Date Awesomeness Films
Ace Entertainment
February 12, 2020 To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
October 6, 2020 Spontaneous Awesomeness Films
Jurassic Party Productions
Paramount Pictures
February 12, 2021 To All the Boys: Always and Forever Awesomeness Films
Ace Entertainment
Netflix
September 3, 2021 The J Team Nickelodeon Movies
Jojo Siwa Inc.
Paramount+
July 29, 2022 Honor Society Awesomeness Films
Guardian Pictures
July 27, 2023 Zoey 102 Nickelodeon Movies
Awesomeness Films
November 22, 2023 Good Burger 2 Nickelodeon Movies
Awesomeness Films
Artists for Artists

References

  1. ^ a b Spangler, Todd (July 27, 2018). "Viacom Acquires AwesomenessTV; CEO Jordan Levin to Depart". Variety. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Chmielewski, Dawn (July 27, 2018). "Viacom Acquires AwesomenessTV; CEO Jordan Levin To Depart". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  3. ^ Brian Robbins and Joe Davola, AwesomenessTV. The Paley Center for Media. May 6, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Chmielewski, Dawn (June 24, 2012). "OMG, it's a YouTube channel just for millennials". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ "Hollywood's New Leaders: PR/Digital/Management". Variety. 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  6. ^ Shaw, Lucas (2014-06-18). "Can Big Frame Build a Management Company for Internet Stars?". TheWrap. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  7. ^ Wallenstein, Andrew (2013-05-01). "DreamWorks Animation Buys YouTube Channel AwesomenessTV for $33 Million". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  8. ^ Taintor, David (October 16, 2013). "Hearst, AwesomenessTV to Launch YouTube Effort for Seventeen". Adweek. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  9. ^ Jarvey, Natalie (2014-04-02). "AwesomenessTV to Buy YouTube MCN Big Frame for $15 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  10. ^ Lieberman, David (2014-04-08). "AwesomenessTV To Enter The Licensed Merchandise Business". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  11. ^ Spangler, Todd (2014-06-16). "DreamWorks Animation Launches YouTube Channel with Shrek, Original Series and More". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  12. ^ Atkinson, Claire (2014-07-21). "Universal Music looking to cater to the YouTube crowd". New York Post. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  13. ^ "AwesomenessTV Teams With Kohl's on New Fashion Line". The Wrap. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  14. ^ "Awesomeness TV and Kohl's Team Up On A New Teen Clothing Line". Mediapost.com. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  15. ^ Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A. & Winkler, Rolfe (2014-10-12). "From YouTube Stars, Literary Lions". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  16. ^ Spangler, Todd (2014-10-29). "Netflix Picks Up 'Richie Rich' Live-Action Comedy from AwesomenessTV". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  17. ^ Verrier, Richard (December 11, 2014). "Hearst Corp. buys 25% stake in AwesomenessTV". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  18. ^ Hipes, Patrick (June 23, 2015). "AwesomenessTV Taps Former Lionsgate Exec As Film Boss". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  19. ^ "DHX to Bring AwesomenessTV Shows to Canadian Television". Variety. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  20. ^ "Family Channel's new teen block F2N launches January 4 with the premiere of Degrassi: Next Class" (Press release). CNW. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  21. ^ Spangler, Todd (April 6, 2016). "Verizon to Acquire 24.5% Stake in AwesomenessTV for $159 Million". Variety. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  22. ^ a b c Patel, Sahil (2 August 2018). "Go90 or bust: How AwesomenessTV's fate was tied to Verizon". Digiday. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  23. ^ James, Meg (April 28, 2016). "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  24. ^ McNary, Dave (August 22, 2016). "Comcast Completes $3.8 Billion DreamWorks Animation Purchase". Variety. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  25. ^ Jarvey, Natalie (2017-02-22). "Brian Robbins to Step Down as AwesomenessTV CEO (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  26. ^ Spangler, Todd (1 November 2017). "Viacom Taps AwesomenessTV's Kelly Day as President of Newly Created Digital Studios Unit". Variety. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  27. ^ Spangler, Todd (2017-02-14). "Verizon, AwesomenessTV Fold Premium-Content Venture, Samie Kim Falvey Out (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  28. ^ Spangler, Todd (July 25, 2018). "Viacom in Talks to Buy AwesomenessTV". Variety. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  29. ^ Hayes, Dade (July 25, 2018). "Viacom In Talks To Acquire AwesomenessTV At Attractive Discount". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  30. ^ Spangler, Todd. "Viacom's AwesomenessTV Deal Worth More Than $50 Million: Sources". Variety. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  31. ^ Spangler, Todd. "Viacom's AwesomenessTV Deal Worth More Than $50 Million: Sources". Variety. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  32. ^ Spangler, Todd (2018-07-27). "Viacom Acquires AwesomenessTV; CEO Jordan Levin to Depart". Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  33. ^ Frankel, Daniel. "Viacom-Owned Awesomeness Re-emerges as Self-Proclaimed 'Studio of Gen-Z'". Multichannel. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  34. ^ "Emmys 2021: The List of Nominees". The New York Times. 2021-09-17. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-11-10.
  35. ^ Clarke, Stewart (2019-11-27). "AwesomenessTV Launching on Pluto TV in the U.K. as AVOD Service Expands (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2023-11-10.
  36. ^ Ben Munson (February 27, 2019). "Viacom eyes distributor partnerships for Pluto TV". FierceVideo.
  37. ^ Jarvey, Natalie (2015-06-23). "AwesomenessTV Launches Film Division (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2022-02-13.
  38. ^ "AwesomenessTV Launches Feature Film Division". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  39. ^ "AwesomenessTV Launches Film Division". adweek.it. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  40. ^ Munson, Ben (2017-05-02). "AwesomenessTV signs movie deal with Netflix, launches news brand". Fierce Video. Retrieved 2022-02-13.
  41. ^ "AwesomenessTV Debuts Young Adult Book Publishing Division Awesomeness Ink". Tubefilter. 2014-10-14. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  42. ^ Cordero, Rosy (2022-08-23). "'My Dream Quinceañera' Gets Premiere Date At Paramount+". Deadline. Retrieved 2022-09-12.