Maker Studios, whose 60,000 YouTube channels command more than 4 billion views a month, has signed an agreement to purchase Blip, a producer and distributor of original Web videos, according to sources close to the deal, which is expected to close early September.
The agreement, first reported by AllThngsD, would combine Maker's presence on YouTube with Blip's distribution across multiple platforms such as Xbox Live, Roku, Yahoo! Screen, AOL, YouTube, Google TV and iTunes. Terms of the deal, which AllThingsD said included stock and cash, were not disclosed.
In addition to managing a network 5,000 independent YouTube channels, Blip also distributes content for Fremantle Media, MyDamnChannel, The Pet Collective and Rooster Teeth. The New York start-up generated 119 million views from its 9.6 million U.S. viewers in June, according to ComScore. Last year, Blip began producing original Web content sponsored by brand partners, including Verizon Communications and GEICO.
Launched in 2005, Blip boasts investors from Canaan Partners, Bain Capital Ventures and Ambient Sound Investments. The company has around 50 employees. Because Maker and Blip have relatively complementary business rather than overlapping, sources told Billboard that large cost-cutting layoffs at Blip aren't likely.
Maker, based in Culver City, Calif., has been growing steadily by amassing thousands of independent YouTube channels into a single multi-channel network, or MCN, in order to aggregate a large audience that can attract premium ad rates, as well as cross-promote channels to drive traffic within its network. But as YouTube becomes increasingly crowded and competitive, online video producers are looking to find additional sources of distribution. Blip's experience with serving up videos elsewhere on the Web and on tablets and televisions via applications would likely come in handy for any MCN looking to broaden its reach.
Neither Maker nor Blip would comment.