VidCon: Jeffrey Katzenberg Talks AwesomenessTV Acquisition, 'Ocean of Opportunity' on YouTube

11:49 AM PST 06/26/2014 by Natalie Jarvey
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Jeffrey Katzenberg

The DreamWorks Animation CEO took the stage during VidCon to talk about why YouTube is "an amazing place to create laughter."

If there's one platform that Jeffrey Katzenberg is betting the future of the entertainment industry on, it's YouTube. 

That was evident when the DreamWorks Animation CEO took the stage Thursday at VidCon in Anaheim to discuss his company's growing foothold in the online video world. 

"This world of short-form video is such an amazing place to create laughter," he told interviewer and VidCon co-founder Hank Green

He started by talking about YouTube Nation, a daily clip show that DWA produces with sales and marketing support from YouTube. The show launched in January to highlight various videos from across the platform. Katzenberg said the show — hosted by HuffPost Live's Jacob Soboroff, who Katzenberg describes as "authentic" — was born out of his own frustration trying to surface the best content on YouTube. 

'I loved it and at the same time was incredibly frustrated by my inability to consume it," he said. "It overwhelmed me. It was an ocean of opportunity." 

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DWA is fresh off the June 17 launch of DreamWorksTV, a YouTube channel that will create new, original web series and leverage existing IP including Shrek. The company first dove into the YouTube space with the 2013 acquisition of AwesomenessTV, a teen-skewing multichannel network from veteran producer-director Brian Robbins. The DreamWorksTV channel was born out of that partnership. 

Katzenberg praised Robbins and his team, calling AwesomenessTV "our biggest bet and our most exciting bet on the [YouTube] platform."

When asked by Green whether he would have purchased an MCN other than Awesomeness, Katzenberg said he's not sure he would have. "I think [Brian] is a singular talent and he's an amazing storyteller," he added. "I'm certain that I don't have the skill to do what he does." 

Katzenberg also touched on why he believes that the YouTube platform "is still in its infancy," noting that it's still difficult for creators to monetize on the platform because a small percentage of the overall community is creating the majority of the value. But he said that will change: "I think the opportunities ahead are so significant." 

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