According to reports, Disney may be on the verge of acquiring one of the biggest YouTube Networks, Maker Studios, in a deal worth around the $500 million or more mark. If the deal becomes official, it will be one of the most important by a 'traditional' media company for a player in the new media and online video space. Both Maker Studios and Disney are yet to comment but Re/code are citing strong anonymous sources for the story.
Maker currently generates around 5.5 billion video views a month, the majority of which are on YouTube, and is partnered with some of the site's biggest stars including PewDiePie, KassemG and SnoopLion. They manage over 50,000 channels on behalf of content partners.
Although no formal acknowledgement of the talks have been made by either party, a merger-type deal would make a lot of sense for both right now. The traditional media companies are eager to capture a younger, more mobile-savvy audience whilst the YouTube MCNs need to find a way of being less reliant on that third-party site. Maker has already made headway here with their acquisition of the Blip video platform in 2013.
Elsewhere, big-time broadcasters are investing heavily in online video network partners. Warner Bros has just confirmed an $18 million investment in Machinima, Comcast are investors in Fullscreen, Dreamworks ploughed $33 million into AwesomenessTV and Maker has already received funding from Time Warner.
We'll bring you the latest news about the possible acquisition when or if it is confirmed.