DreamWorks Animation on Wednesday announced it has agreed to acquire YouTube teen network AwesomenessTV, which so far has signed up over 55,000 channels, for approximately $33 million in cash. The media company currently aggregates over 14 million subscribers as well as 800 million video views, and recently extended beyond the mobile platform into television and film.
In addition to the eight-figure price tag, DreamWorks Animation has agreed to make additional contingent cash payments “from time to time” if certain earnings targets are met in 2014 and 2015. The maximum amount is $117 million, showing how important performance will be in this deal.
To increase the chance of those bonuses, AwesomenessTV founder and CEO Brian Robbins plans to stay on and keep growing his company. He will also assume an executive role at the studio to develop a DreamWorks Animation branded digital family channel. Unsurprisingly, Robbins seems excited about the move: “The incredible opportunity to take all the resources of this amazing global brand with beloved character franchises and create a dedicated family channel has extraordinary potential – I can’t wait to get started.”
This looks like it will be a very quick transaction. DreamWorks Animation says it expects it will be completed as soon as this month.
“Awesomeness TV is one of the fastest growing content channels on the Internet today and our acquisition of this groundbreaking venture will bring incredible momentum to our digital strategy,” DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement. “Brian Robbins has an extraordinary track record in creating family content both for traditional and new platforms and his expertise in the TV arena will be invaluable as we grow our presence in that space.”
While AwesomenessTV’s main target audience consists of teenagers, its videos span a wide range of content. Categories include beauty, comedy, music, entertainment, and sports.
News of the acquisition first leaked out last night, via “people familiar with the proposed transaction” cited by AllThingsD. That report noted YouTube featured Robbins prominently during its “brandcast” presentation for advertisers a year ago.
Top Image Credit: David McNew/Getty Images
See the original post here: DreamWorks Animation acquires teen-targeted YouTube network AwesomenessTV for $33m
Chris Dixon joined our co-editor Eric Eldon this morning at Disrupt NY 2013 to discuss his move out to San Francisco for a job at Andreessen Horowitz. One of the areas that interests him the most is the much-hyped Bitcoin space.
The reason why Dixon is so interested is because it solves many problems for those who have tried to start a financial company in the past. He said: “There’s the whole problem of fraud online, which is a massive problem, along with all of the payment fees. The interesting thing with these math-based currencies is that you can do transactions without trusting the person at all.”
He went on to discuss the beauty of Bitcoin, mostly the anonymous aspect of it, requiring no authentication or trust on either side of a transaction. Dixon stated: “The Internet is an anonymous network, but it requires authenticating identity. The exciting thing about these new currency schemes is that you have these anonymous payment systems grafted onto anonymous networks.”
An example of the type of companies that Dixon is interested in investing in when it comes to Bitcoin are the companies like “Pay For Bits,” who would like to be the PayPal of Bitcoin. Due to regulations alone, there’s been a massive wall in between startups and doing something like this with actual money.
Dixon feels like the best entrepreneurs on both coasts will probably start getting into Bitcoin and that means that we’ll see more innovation in the space.
While top entrepreneurs won’t necessarily jump off of what they’re doing to start a Bitcoin company, but there are elements of the anonymous currency that could creep into existing products. For example, Reddit added Bitcoin as an option to purchase gold on the site, and we’ll have to see more of those types of things happen before the real products and investing starts.
Here is the original post: Chris Dixon Plans On Investing In More Bitcoin Startups, Says More Entrepreneurs Are Getting Involved
Alipay has launched a new payment system in the Beijing subway that uses sound waves to connect smartphones with ticketing machines. The sound wave payment system was introduced with the Alipay Wallet mobile app in January and uses white noise (link via Google Translate) generated by a smartphone to carry digital information to another device. Initially used for smartphone-to-smartphone transactions, the Beijing Subway launch marks the first time the system has been used with a payment kiosk for consumer transactions, according to Xinhua (link via Google Translate).
The new system was launched in two stations on Line 4 of the Beijing subway last week and will expand to the rest of the line soon. To use the sound wave payment system, customers open the Alipay Wallet app on their handset while holding it close to a sensor on the ticketing machine, and wait for it to make a “shoo-shoo-shoo” noise. Wang Yu-ming, Alipay’s business development director, told Xinhua that each sound transmission is unique to the transaction and is only valid for five minutes because of security reasons (each transaction takes less than a minute). If the sound payment’s Beijing subway launch proves successful, the system could potentially be implemented in convenience stores, supermarkets, and department stores.
Though Alipay’s system is a novelty for consumers, it is not the first company that has used sound waves to transmit information. First launched in 2011, startup Naratte’s Zoosh tech enables mobile payments over ultrasonic sound waves.
While the folks at GroupMe have spent some time exploring the world outside group messaging, they certainly haven’t given up on refining the formula that made them so appealing in the first place. Earlier today, GroupMe pushed out a pair of considerable updates that add some curious (and tremendously thoughtful) features to the company’s iOS and Android apps.
As you’d expect these updates play host to a few minor tweaks and bugfixes (they’re apparently so minor GroupMe won’t even lay them out on its blog) but two new features are the real stars of the show here.
First up is GroupMe’s new gallery view — rather than forcing users to scroll upstream through scores of old messages in search of previously shared photos, the app now lets them view all those photos in one fell swoop. Useful, sure, but nothing all that weighty. More importantly, GroupMe users can now include what the company calls a “Split” into any conversation — as the name sort of implies, it’s a way for users to quickly add expenditures in hopes that the rest of the group will chip in.
Users can either set up the expense as a fixed goal that group members can contribute to, or as a set dollar amount that each person must contribute, and the actual payments are handled by YC-backed Balanced. Aside from learning which of your compatriots are unrepentant cheapskates, the caveats are few — the first transaction could take up to 3 to 5 days to clear with a user’s bank, and the inevitable contributor fees ($0.99 plus 4.0% of the total amount) will kick in on March 12.
Granted, there’s really no shortage of cute ways to split a payment these days (consider PayByGroup and PayDivvy, just to name a few) but baking that sort of functionality directly into a messaging application is an awfully savvy move. After all, GroupMe is already providing a useful way for multiple people to communicate and get things done — further enhancing that ability to get things done by adding support for in-app payments could help cement GroupMe as something more substantial than just another media-centric messaging app.
Go here to see the original: Chatting Is Great, But GroupMe’s Mobile Apps Now Let Users Split Payments Too
Coinbase scored a huge partnership today, as social discovery and discussion site Reddit has just launched an integration that allows its users to pay for “Reddit Gold” using bitcoin with Coinbase’s system.
Bitcoin is the “underground” digital money system that’s fueling growth and disruption in the online payment space. Coinbase is a “bitcoin wallet and platform” that lets merchants and consumers make transactions easily using bitcoin. By buying Reddit Gold, you can add features to your account like comment highlighting and shutting off ads. Additionally, Reddit will now start collecting credit-card payments in the U.S. and Canada thanks to Stripe to go along with its PayPal and Google Wallet options.
“We’ve gotten some requests for additional payment methods so hopefully this brings us closer to reaching everyone who wants to buy gold,” Reddit’s Brian Simpson said about their reason for the deal.
I spoke with Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s CEO, and this is what he shared about the launch:
We’re pairing with Reddit to allow them to start accepting bitcoin payments for Reddit Gold. This is a large step forward for Bitcoin and for Coinbase, as Reddit is a top 100 site in the U.S. and top 200 site internationally.
Reddit CEO Yishan Wong stopped by our offices about a month back because he wanted to learn more about how bitcoin worked and how they could start accepting it as a payment method. We had a number of other merchants start using our merchant tools recently, including 4Chan (they have a “pass” which is similar to Reddit Gold), web hosting companies, productivity app, and plenty of sites accepting donations. So this gave him the confidence that we were ready to handle traffic for a site the size of Reddit.
While Reddit isn’t exactly a “mainstream” site yet, it is definitely the most widely used site to start accepting bitcoin that I can think of. The company sees this as just the tip of the iceberg. As people start using bitcoin on Reddit, they’ll want to take their wallets to other merchants. That build of demand will hopefully break bitcoin into the mainstream.
The plusses to bitcoin are many, allowing secure global digital transactions that don’t transmit any personal information whatsoever, as I discovered while covering another player in the space, BitPay.
The transaction fees for bitcoin purchases are also extremely low compared to other services, so it has that going for it, too. Coinbase makes bitcoin integration simple by transferring accepted payments into bank accounts and doing all of the currency conversion for them. The company says it has 30,000 users and is processing 40,000 bitcoin payments a month.
Will Reddit push bitcoin into the mainstream? We will see, but as usual, the Redditors have gotten what they wanted.
[Image Credit: The hilarious web comic Toothpaste For Dinner]