With about 18,000 YouTube content makers and their fans converging on Southern California's Anaheim Convention Center for the fifth annual VidCon confab Thursday, high-profile media executives including DreamWorks Animation's Jeffrey Katzenberg, Maker Studio's Ynon Kreiz and YouTube's Susan Wojcicki turned out to deliver one-on-one "fireside" chats.
With his studio coming off a series of theatrical flops, highlighted by the $57 million write-down it took on "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" over the spring, Katzenberg told video blogger Jeff Green--and and audience that included Deadline Hollywood and the L.A. Times--that movies are "not a growth business" for DreamWorks Animation anymore. Online video is.
Yes, he said it--DWA is closing in on $200 million globally on its latest release, "How to Train Your Dragon 2," but the focus is on YouTube.
Specifically, Katzenberg lauded his studio's $33 million purchase of YouTube programmer AwesomenessTV in May 2013, as well as its co-venture with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), "YouTube Nation," a daily five-minute program that aggregates and highlights videos from around the YouTube spectrum. That channel has already tallied 1.6 million subscribers.
"We have created a lighthouse that is in service of everything that is great and unique and singular about what I believe will be the most important platform in the world, which is YouTube," Katzenberg said.
Also sitting in the same chair Thursday for another "fireside chat," Maker's Kreiz said his company initially resisted Disney's $550 million takeover last spring.
"We did not want to sell the company to Disney initially," Kreiz said. "The conversation started out as a partnership. As the conversation evolved, it became very clear that there was a very strong fit between the companies. It became very clear that we belong to each other."
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