FremantleMedia North America, the Burbank-based U.S. distribution and production arm of the European Indie TV production powerhouse, has entered into a multiseries, multiyear development deal with multichannel YouTube network StyleHaul, the digital fashion and beauty behemoth that currently boasts 104 million subscribers over 2,000 channels worldwide.
First order of business is The Crew, a 10-episode entertainment talk format featuring YouTube personalities Marcus Butler, Jim Chapman, Caspar Lee and PointlessBlog helmer Alfie Deyes. The show, which wrapped last week and was filmed in front of a live studio audience, will premiere on StyleHaul in January and focus on already standard YouTube-friendly fare such as "relationships, social media and texting etiquette." The live-audience format is a first for StyleHaul, which has primarily been known for homespun beauty tutorials, designer interviews and man-on-the-street fashion and shopping challenges thus far.
"We are absolutely thrilled to partner with FremantleMedia on this deal. We feel their expertise in producing iconic and record-breaking TV such as American Idol and America’s Got Talent, coupled with their global reach, will help take StyleHaul's content to the next level," said StyleHaul CEO Stephanie Horbaczewski, who left her post as a Saks Fifth Avenue marketing executive to co-found the company in 2011.
In May 2013, FremantleMedia parent company RTL Group made a minority, $6 million dollar investment in StyleHaul -- a funding round that came just after a $6.5 million B-round infusion from Bertelsmann Digital Media Investment. Bertelsmann owns a majority stake in RTL Group.
The Crew marks the first digital series under FremantleMedia North America's digital production business, launched in September with the appointment of executive vp digital content Gayle Gilman by FMNA CEO Thom Beers. All the YouTube talent appearing on The Crew is repped by London-based social talent agency Gleam Futures.
"Almost overnight StyleHaul has become the largest online network for young women, making them an ideal partner for us as we grow our original digital content business," Gilman said. "We’re excited to be working with Stephanie Horbaczewski and her team to develop and produce original scripted and unscripted series for such a fast-growing and engaged audience."