VidCon: Maker Studios' Ynon Kreiz Reveals How Disney Acquisition Came Together

Matthew Staver/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Ynon Kreiz

The Maker Studios CEO told the VidCon audience that partnership talks evolved into the realization that the two media companies are "a very strong fit."

What does Maker Studios look like now that it's part of the Disney family? CEO Ynon Kreiz says it's still too early for many changes to manifest, but he gave the audience a VidCon a taste of how the YouTube multichannel network could leverage the media company's resources.

"We brought Disney into the YouTube ecosystem," he said. "Right through the front door. We will enable our creators to embrace the Disney franchises." 

He pointed to the "treasure trove" of content at Disney through its various properties — including Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel — and added that Maker plans to work with Disney to create new content and programming based on existing franchises. 

He also revealed that Maker began talking to Disney about a content partnership, which later developed into acquisition talks. 

"As the conversation evolved, it became very clear that there was a very strong fit," he said. "The companies actually share the same DNA." 

Maker operates a YouTube MCN made up of everyone from gamer PewDiePie to musician and has more than 450 million total subscribers. The company recently expanded off YouTube with the launch of Maker.TV, a streaming video platform that Kreiz described as "the premium version of Maker." 

"We view ourselves as a next-generation media company," he said. "We expect to continue to distribute most of our content through YouTube but our job is to reach as many people as we can...and not everyone is on YouTube all the time." 

He noted that Maker creators post between 500,000 and 750,000 new videos every month. Maker.TV is a curated selection that "represents the best that Maker has to offer." 

Maker has also launched Maker Gen, an updated system for its creators that gives them more robust tools to grow audience and engagement both on and off YouTube. He called it a "combination of art and science." 

But while the technology and tools are important, so are the advertising dollars that they help generate. And Kreiz said Madison Avenue has responded favorably to its sale to Disney. 

He noted: "When Disney bought into Maker, you couldn't have had a stronger vote of confidence by one of the largest media companies."