Twenty million here, thirty million there and pretty soon you’re talking real money. Multi-channel YouTube network Maker Studios has raised another $26 million from a group of investors that includes Canal+, Malaysia’s Astro holding company and SingTel Group. The fundraising haul comes on top of the $36 million Maker raised from a Time Warner-led group back in December.
Maker controls a network of 60,000 YouTube channels worldwide and generates about 4 billion views per month from hits such as PewDiePie and Epic Rap Battles of History.
Some of the new funds will likely go to pay for Blip, the digital media distributor Maker acquired last week for an undisclosed sum. The Blip deal is part of an effort by Maker to broaden its distribution beyond YouTube, something a growing number of YouTube breakout channels are looking to do these days, with the growing support of investors.
Last month, fast-growing food network Tastemade raised $10 million in a second round as it looks to expand its distribution beyond YouTube, where its cooking shows have been viewed 18 million times, into mobile and other platforms. Like Maker, Tastemade also runs a network of affiliated channels that collectively have 4 million subscribers and have generated over 50 million views. Investors included Raine Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.
That’s a lot of money that’s starting to go into an ecosystem of talent and content creation that is growing up outside traditional TV channels. That’s a much bigger problem for the traditional TV gatekeepers in the long run than whether viewers watch content on pay-TV or over-the-top.