By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES (StartName) – Otter Media, a joint venture between telecom giant AT&T Inc and The Chernin Group, has agreed to buy a majority stake in Fullscreen, one of the largest networks on YouTube, the companies announced on Monday.
The deal values Fullscreen at between $200 million and $300 million, a person with knowledge of the transaction said. Fullscreen founder and Chief Executive George Strompolos will remain CEO and keep an ownership stake in the company.
The purchase is the latest move by major media players to tap into the large and fast-growing audience on Google Inc’s YouTube. Walt Disney Co acquired Maker Studios in April for up to $950 million.
Fullscreen, Maker Studios and other multichannel networks recruit online video creators and offer help with production, ad sales and other services to increase their viewership and revenue. Fullscreen’s stars, which include The Fine Brothers, Lohanthony and Devin Supertramp, generate 4 billion video views per month.
“The scale they have is a big differentiator,” said Jesse Jacobs, president of The Chernin Group, which is led by media entrepreneur and former News Corp president Peter Chernin. The growth of online video consumption “is only going to accelerate,” Chernin said.
Strompolos said Fullscreen will use the new investment to expand its current services, including in the areas of premium content, live events and programming on social networks.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Grant McCool)