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February 16, 2017

Disney's Maker Studios severs relationship with YouTube star PewDiePie

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Maker Studios is in the news this week after parent The Walt Disney Company cut ties with one of its biggest YouTube stars, PewDiePie, over his anti-Semitic posts. And YouTube quickly followed suit, canceling plans for the second season of his reality series, “Scare PewDiePie.” PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, has 53 million YouTube subscribers.

The Walt Disney Company bought Maker Studios three years ago in a much-publicized deal for $500 million. Maker Studios is a multi-channel network and YouTube video supplier. It reportedly gets about 10 billion views per month across its 55,000 YouTube channels. Disney had planned to use Maker Studios as way to learn more about promoting its franchises online, as well as an acquisition of new content.

"Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos are inappropriate," according to a statement from a Maker spokeswoman, The Hollywood Reporter posted online. "Maker Studios has made the decision to end our affiliation with him going forward."

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I first wrote about Maker Studios back in 2015 when its co-founder, video blogger Shay Carl Butler, was in Orlando to attend Playlist Live 2015, a three-day convention that focuses on video production from experienced creators and gives attendees a way to meet their favorite YouTube stars. Butler has his own popular family video blog, The Shaytards, that is among my teenage son’s favorites.

The Wall Street Journal, which first broke the news about PewDiePie, also is reporting that in the wake of Maker Studios severing ties with him, the company is now looking at an uncertain future.

“The studio generated roughly $300 million in revenue last fiscal year but wasn't profitable, according to people with knowledge of the matter,” the newspaper reported.

Other sources are reporting that layoffs at Maker Studios may be coming. Maker Studios is part of the consumer products and interactive division at Disney.

Meanwhile, plans for Playlist Live 2017, which features many Maker Studios stars, are moving ahead. The event will take place May 5 to 7 at the Orlando World Center Marriott. Tickets, with early-bird discounts, are on sale now at https://www.playlist-live.com/orl-tickets/products Passes start at $130, and there are a number of new ticket options this year.

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Disney's Maker Studios to feature Marvel characters and partner with ESPN and ABC



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April 30, 2015

Disney's Maker Studios to feature Marvel characters and partner with ESPN and ABC

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Maker Studios' recently unveiled plans for upcoming content illustrates how The Walt Disney Company plans not only to leverage its digital audiences, but also how popular characters, such as those from Marvel, fit into its content strategy.

I wrote about Maker Studios back in February when its co-founder, vlogger Shay Carl Butler, was in Orlando to attend Playlist Live 2015, a three-day convention that started as a way for attendees to learn more about video production from experienced creators.

Maker Studios is a multi-channel network and YouTube video supplier. It reportedly gets about 5.5 billion views per month across its 55,000 YouTube channels. The Walt Disney Company acquired Maker Studios in 2014 for a deal that potentially could be worth almost $1 billion.

In its presentation to potential advertisers this week, Maker Studios revealed that it is working with Disney's Marvel division to not only promote current releases, such as this week's 'Avengers: Age of Ultron,' but also original content based on the 'lore' of the comic book universe.

According to the Los Angeles Times, 'Maker's pitch is aimed at advertisers who want to reach millennials, age 13 to 34, who spend an increasing number of hours watching video online and on mobile devices. Sixty percent of that age group visits YouTube at least once a day, according to the company's data.'

Maker Studios encompasses far more video channels that have nothing to do with Disney than those that do. But clearly, The Walt Disney Company is going to make access to its properties more readily available to those under the Maker Studios umbrella.

It also was announced that Disney's ESPN and X Games will partner athletes with content creators and "deliver cutting edge content year-round," according to Deadline.com. The site also reported that Maker will "collaborate on nonfiction storytelling around politics and culture" including an original, American Women, with ABC's Lincoln Square Productions. Plus, among Maker's large catalogue of upcoming original content is 'Maker Tales,' fairy tales re-imagined as music videos.

"Before the Mickey Mouse Club, kids' shows were only hosted by adults with other kids solely used as the in-studio audience. In the 60 years since then, technology has completely changed, but the desire for young people to connect directly with their peers has not," Erin McPherson, chief content officer at Maker, said in a recent USA Today report.

Want to hang out with the blogger stars from Maker Studios? Dates for Playlist Live 2016 in Orlando already have been announced. The conference will take place April 22 to 24 at the Orlando World Center Marriott. Tickets, with early-bird discounts, are on sale now at https://www.playlist-live.com/orl-tickets/products



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February 6, 2015

Playlist Live 2015 starts today in Orlando

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Carl Butler (right) recently was the Grand Marshal of a parade at the Magic Kingdom.

If you're not familiar with Maker Studios and its catalog of entertainers, you will be soon. The Walt Disney Company bought the multi-channel network and YouTube video supplier last year for a deal that could be worth almost $1 billion. Its stars already have begun making appearances at Walt Disney World.

This weekend, many popular YouTube celebrities, including Maker Studios co-founder and vlogger Shay Carl Butler, will be back in Orlando for Playlist Live 2015, a three-day convention at Orlando World Center Marriott that begins today. Though many of the vloggers aren't necessarily dedicated Disney commentators, they do often produce Disney-themed content. Zoella, The Daily Bumps and Olga Kay are among such performers. Playlist Live guest celebrity Teala Dunn is best known for her work on Disney TV shows such as "Dog With A Blog" and "Shake It Up!"

The event started four years ago in Orlando as a way for attendees to learn more about video production from experienced creators. It has grown to include meet-ups with popular stars, Q&As and short performances from featured guests, musical performances and a dance party, and an inflatable joust and interactive games.

Parents even will have their own lounge, much like similar facilities at rock concerts, so they can be on site if their children need them, but they're not tagging along with their cool offspring.

My 12-year-old son is attending Playlist Live for the first time, and he has been counting the days until he can meet his favorite YouTubers (besides the Debs, of course): The Shaytards. This family first attracted viewers with its daily video blogs. Among the other popular entertainers at the convention are Tyler Oakley, Bethany Mota and a slew of others. For many of today's teens (and tweens), social media stars are the celebrities they most want to meet, and Playlist Live gives them the opportunity to just that.

Although the convention quickly sold out, fans can peek in on the happenings online, of course, via the Playlist Live Virtual Experience. Fans can sign up HERE to be notified when the live streaming begins.

So, why would Disney want to acquire Maker Studios? As The New York Times pointed out, it's not necessarily for its established personalities, though they play a part.

"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."

According to Variety, Maker gets about 5.5 billion views per month across its 55,000 YouTube channels.

"We can allow the Maker people to substantially improve the distribution and reach of shorter form video using these [Star Wars] characters and stories and add their expertise on the production side," Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger told Variety.



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About Maker Studios

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Maker Studios category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Main Street Electrical Parade is the previous category.

Mako is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.