Fullscreen, a network of more than 10,000 YouTube channels, has closed an undisclosed round of funding from Comcast Ventures, The Chernin Group and WPP Digital.
In an unusual decision, the Culver City, Calif., company declined to specify how much it raised from its investors during the Series A round, but a report from AllThingsD in April pegged the amount at $30 million.
George Strompolos, the company’s chief executive and founder, said the funding was “substantial” and would be used to help his two-year-old startup expand internationally, develop more services for its 15,000 YouTube video creators and develop its own series of original programming.
Fullscreen is among the largest networks on YouTube seeking to harness the online video platform’s immense audience of 1 billion monthly unique viewers. It does so by aggregating popular artist channels, cross-promoting them and selling premium advertising throughout its network, which generates 2.5 billion monthly views from around 150 million subscribers. Fullscreen competes with Maker Studios, Big Frame and Zefr, which pursue similar business models. All three are located in Los Angeles, which has become a hotbed of onine video creators and startups looking to make money through YouTube.
In addition to independent online video creators such as Lindsey Stirling, Tyler Ward and Megan Nicole, Fullscreen also works with Comcast’s NBCUniversal and News Corp.’s Fox to manage their YouTube channels. Peter Chernin, Chairman of The Chernin Group, was the former chief operating officer of News Corp.
The company recently signed a deal with Universal Music Publishing Group to license music that could be used as cover songs by its network of musicians. Fullscreen plans to negotiate more of those deals and is hiring a director or business development for music to help nail further licensing agreements, as well as develop and promote new artists, according to a job posting.
Universal Music Publishing Inks Deals with Fullscreen, Maker Studios
“Increasingly, artists are breaking on the YouTube platform more so than anywhere else,” said Strompolos, who worked at YouTube to create the company’s Partner Program prior to founding Fullscreen in January 2011. “Youth under 18 are turning to YouTube more so than radio. Fullscreen was born on the YouTube platform and is focused on artist development entirely on YouTube. We can help your video seen by more people, police your copyrights, make more money from those videos and connect with other artists for cross-collaboration.”
It’s also investing in original programming as a way to differentiate and grow its network. In April, Fullscreen inked a deal with Ryan Seacrest Productions to create original shows for its network. They did not disclose details on projects they plan to produce together.
Strompolos said the additional funding also will fuel Fullscreen’s expansion into Brazil, Mexico, Japan, India and Russia — areas where YouTube is achieving rapid growth. “Half of our creators are based outside the U.S. To grow, we need to have a footprint in those countries.”