In 1996, Ynon Kreiz (’93) helped launch Fox Kids Europe, which eventually sold to the Walt Disney Company in 2001. Yesterday he did it again. Disney swooped in and purchased online-content powerhouse Maker Studios—where Kreiz is currently CEO.
The deal is reportedly worth $500 million, with $450 million more on the table if the company meets “aggressive” growth targets. Maker Studios locks down 5.5 billion views per month from its 380-million-user YouTube base. With more than 55,000 channels of online content, Disney clearly hopes for an empire-sized increase to its new-media bandwidth.
"This gives a presence online to reach the millennial group that is increasingly getting its video online," Kevin Mayer, Disney executive vice president for corporate strategy, told Reuters. "And it gives us a lot of data to help promote our other businesses to them."
Kreiz will continue to run Maker and try to squeeze more value for its investors, which reportedly include Time Warner Investments, Elizabeth Murdoch, Greycroft Partners and Kreiz.
“Maker brings to Disney a substantial digital audience, some of the biggest stars in the space and also a real understanding of how to manage big brands on YouTube,” Brent Weinstein, who leads United Talent Agency’s digital media division, told The New York Times. “Look at what Maker has done for Epic Rap Battles and Snoop, and imagine what they can do for Iron Man, Mickey and Yoda.”
Before Maker, Kreiz ran Endemol, the world's largest independent television and digital production company, from 2008 to 2011. He is also one of Anderson’s “Inspirational 100 Alumni.”