Los Angeles Business Journal

Chernin Group, Comcast Invest in Fullscreen

By Natalie Jarvey Monday, June 17, 2013

Traditional media money continues to flow into the YouTube ecosystem.

Culver City network Fullscreen announced Monday that it has raised a Series A round of financing from Chernin Group, Comcast Ventures and WPP.

Jesse Jacobs, president of Santa Monica’s Chernin Group, and San Landman, principal at Comcast’s investment arm, will join Fullscreen’s board.

Fullscreen, which provides monetization and audience engagement tools for YouTube creators within its network, did not disclose the amount it has raised. But AllThingsD reported in April that the round amounted to about $30 million based on a pre-money valuation of $110 million.

The 160-person company said it will use the money to accelerate the development of its technology and expand its sales teams, including in Mexico, Brazil and Russia. It will also look to develop new owned-and-operated content initiatives.

Fullscreen's network is made up of more than 10,000 YouTube channels that cumulatively have more than 150 million subscribers and more than 2.5 billion monthly views.

"We chose this strategic group of investors due to Chernin's media expertise, Comcast's distribution expertise and WPP's brand expertise," Fullscreen Chief Executive George Strompolos wrote in an email. "It's the perfect trifecta."

The funding is the latest in a string of investments made by media giants into YouTube networks and channels.

Time Warner Investments led a $36 million round in Maker Studios last year. And perhaps most notable, teen-oriented AwesomenessTV was acquired by DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. in May for $33 million in cash.

Strompolos would not disclose financials, but said Fullscreen is profitable. The company already works with a number of traditional media partners through its brand technology platform, called Channel Plus. They include TV networks NBC and Fox and production companies such as Ryan Seacrest Production.

Even so, Strompolos said the YouTube world benefits from the support of traditional media.

"I think it's a positive signal that these established media companies see opportunity in the space," he said. "Many companies are maturing on this new platform. We see that the market is poised for massive disruption and growth."