The video production company behind gaming sensation PewDiePie is now owned by Disney.
The $500m acquisition was confirmed overnight, giving Disney stewardship over the network’s 380m subscribers, 5.5bn monthly views and existing stable of 55,000 YouTube channels. Last year PewDiePie beat the likes of Miley Cyrus and One Direction to become YouTube’s most watched star in H2 2013.
Another $450m could yet be added to the price should Maker hit its growth targets.
Maker will not be incorporated into Disney’s gaming operations and will instead report directly to CFO James Rasulo.
“Short-form online video is growing at an astonishing pace and with Maker Studios, Disney will now be at the centre of this dynamic industry with an unmatched combination of advanced technology and programming expertise and capabilities,” Disney chairman and CEO Rober Iger stated.
Disney’s corporate strategy executive VP Kevin Mayer added to Reuters: "This gives a presence online to reach the millennial group that is increasingly getting its video online and it gives us a lot of data to help promote our other businesses to them."
Maker chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz will continue to run the network, and said of the deal: “Disney is synonymous with the best entertainment and is the ideal partner for us, strengthening our position as the leading player in online video.”
The move continues Disney’s recent media buying spree that has also seen it acquire the likes of LucasFilm, Marvel and, a few years previously, Club Penguin and Playdom.