|Headquarters||Culver City, California|
|Ben Donovan (President), Lisa Donovan, Ynon Kreiz (Chairman)|
Independent (2009-2014) |
The Walt Disney Company (2014-present)
Maker Studios, Inc. is an American worldwide multi-channel network co-founded by Lisa Donovan, former chief executive officer Danny Zappin, Scott Katz, Kassem G, Shay Carl, Ben Donovan, and Philip DeFranco. Shane Dawson was also involved with Lisa Donovan and Shay Carl during their collaboration on The Station. On March 24, 2014, Maker Studios, Inc. agreed to sell itself to The Walt Disney Company for $500 million, which could rise to $950 million, if financial milestones are met. On April 14, 2014, Relativity Media submitted a competing bid of up to $1.1 billion, but Maker denied the bid.
Key members of Maker Studios
Courtney Holt is the current CEO of Maker Studios. Due to Danny Zappin stepping down as the company's CEO, Ynon Kreiz, former CEO and Chairman of Endemol became the CEO of Maker Studios in May 2013. Prior to Kreiz becoming the CEO of Maker, he was the company's chairman. Ryan Lissack is the current CTO of Maker Studios.
Maker Studios produces videos for channels on YouTube, including Tessa Violet, Bart Baker, Yves Bole, KassemG, Timothy DeLaGhetto, Peter Shukoff and Lloyd Ahlquist's Epic Rap Battles of History, Sam Macaroni, along with several others that have almost as many viewers as Nickelodeon. Maker's first three channels produced for YouTube included Maker Music Network, Tutele, and The Mom's View, with both Maker Music Network and Tutele channels shutting down within six months of their launch. In April 2012 Maker Studios partnered with Mike Tompkins. Maker Studios have also signed celebrities such as famous rapper Snoop Dogg and his YouTube channel WestFestTV, actor Robert De Niro's Tribeca Enterprises, and Kevin Smith. Felix Kjellberg (a.k.a. "PewDiePie") is also signed under the Maker Sub-Network Polaris, as well as the let's play webseries Game Grumps.
In June 2012, Maker Studios announced that the over 1,000 channels signed under the network received an accumulated over 1.1 billion views for the month of June 2012. YouTube channels under Maker Studios have also collectively earned over 90 million subscribers. In October 2012, Maker Studios surpassed Machinima to become the number one independent YouTube network. However, since that time, according to comScore, in December 2012, Fullscreen passed Maker to become the top ranked YouTube-based network. In December 2012, shortly after the Ray William Johnson controversy, Maker announced that it had closed a $36 million round of financing led by Time Warner Investments. The most popular Maker production is Epic Rap Battles of History, which averages 30 million views an episode. Maker's most successful channel is Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie), signed under the Maker sub-network Polaris. PewDiePie's personal channel is also the most subscribed on YouTube.
Outside of the US, Maker has built significant audiences in the UK, Brazil and Australia, and aims to expand its Asian operations where it generates 700 million monthly unique views. Run by Rene Rechtman, President for International, Maker is building a headquarters in London for its commercial, production and marketing activities outside of the US. An Asian hub has been established in Singapore, offering limited commercial and marketing support until the business is larger. In 2015 Makers Studios was bought by the Walt Disney Company.
Ray William Johnson dispute
Maker Studios formerly produced Ray William Johnson's Equals Three and Your Favorite Martian. In October 2012, Johnson announced he would be leaving Maker Studios in an episode of Equals Three. Johnson had also formed his own production studio, Runaway Machine (formerly Runaway Planet). Johnson has stated online that he left Maker Studios due to the pressure the company put on him into signing a contract which gave Maker a 40% share of his channel's AdSense revenue and 50% of his show's intellectual property rights. Johnson stated that they were using "thuggish tactics" to pressure him into signing the contract, one of which was allegedly leveraging his AdSense account for the intellectual property rights to YourFavoriteMartian. He also claimed that Maker Studios CEO, Danny Zappin, is a convicted felon, a charge to which Zappin later publicly admitted.
Maker Studios started a sub-network called Maker Music. The network specializes in undiscovered music, online and offstage.
Formerly known as The Game Station, Polaris is Maker's sub-network for video game culture. It includes channels such as PewDiePie, KSIOlajidebt, Vegetta777, Alexby11, Chuggaaconroy, Markiplier, Dodger, Jesse Cox, SomeOrdinaryGamers, The Yogscast, Game Grumps, TotalBiscuit, Angry Joe, Rabbidluigi, Wartek, Wowcrendor, Lextube, UberHaxorNova and The Creatures, TheRunawayGuys, Shofu, Jontron, Egoraptor, Larry Bundy, Jr, Stampylonghead, IBallisticSquid, CaptainSparklez, ModernWarNegro, HMGay, stacysays, and AshleyMarieeGaming.
A sub-network designed to promote small or growing channels. Originally called RPM Network but is now called MakerGen.
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