Viacom took a big step in expanding its digital content strategy with the acquisition of Awesomeness, a joint venture between Hearst, NBCUniversal and Verizon.
The company will fold Awesomeness into its Viacom Digital Studios (VDS) where it will factor into Viacom’s content production ecosystem, drive additional growth at VDS, and strengthen Viacom’s digital and social relationships.
“Awesomeness has done an incredible job building their brand into a digital media powerhouse for today’s most sought-after and hard-to-reach youth audiences,” said Kelly Day, president of Viacom Digital Studios and former Chief Business Officer of Awesomeness, in a statement. “The team brings strong digital expertise, deep connections with top talent and influencers, and a robust branded content studio and creative agency that will accelerate the growth and scale of Viacom Digital Studios.”
In terms of the executive lineup at VDS, the Awesomeness acquisition makes a lot of sense. Day as well as VDS Executive Vice President of Talent and Development Paula Kaplan and Paramount Players President Brian Robbins—who co-founded Awesomeness in 2012 with Joe Davola—each joined Viacom directly from Awesomeness.
To VDS, Awesomeness will be bringing its dedicated sales force, branded content studio and existing relationships with brands such as Hollister, Gatorade and Invisalign.
For Viacom, the deal punctuates the company’s renewed sense of purpose around growing its share of digital viewership as its traditional cable networks struggle along with the rest of linear television.
Viacom later this year plans to launch its own direct-to-consumer streaming service. The company has also begun setting deals with streaming services for series based on its IP, including a Nickelodeon-branded series for Netflix.