European media giant ProSiebenSat.1 announced Wednesday it is merging its German-based Studio71 operation with U.S. YouTube multichannel network Collective Digital Studio.
The news of the merger comes over a year after ProSiebenSat.1 acquired a 20% stake in Collective Digital Studio.
The new venture, called Collective Studio71, will be a global multichannel network with locations in Los Angeles, New York, Berlin, Toronto and London. ProsiebenSat.1 invested $83 million in its new entity, giving it a post-money valuation of $240 million. ProSiebenSat.1 will hold 75% of the equity shares, and Collective Digital Studio will hold the remainder.
Multichannel networks, known as MCNs, are not affiliated with or endorsed by YouTube or Google. However, they were created to help assist digital stars with programming, funding, cross-promotion, partner management, digital rights management, monetization, sales and audience development.
Collective Digital Studio, which has over 900 channels that deliver more than 1.7 billion views a month, is behind popular shows such as "The Annoying Orange," "Epic Meal Time" and "Video Game High School."
Studio71 works with European talent and has created hit digital properties such as "Let’s Play Together" and "Last Man Standing." Last summer, the German company brought programming to the U.S. with L.A.-based YouTube channel "The Mansion." Set in West Hollywood, the web series brought YouTube superstars from Germany and the U.S. under one roof to exchange ideas, share projects and produce video content together.
The new global multichannel network will be managed by ProSiebenSat.1's Christof Wahl, Sebastian Weil and Ronald Horstman as well as Collective Digital Studio founders Michael Green and Reza Izad.
"By founding Collective Studio71, we will now instantly be a global player in this attractive growth market," Christian Wegner, a member of the executive board for ProSiebenSat.1, said in a statement.
Green, who is also chairman of Collective Digital Studio, echoed the importance of a global presence.
"The combination of our two MCNs, backed by a strong financial foundation, will enable us to leverage opportunities throughout Europe, the Americas and other territories to establish the first truly global MCN," Green said in a statement. "There will also be a strong focus on bringing in broadcast partners for all these territories worldwide.”
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