Warner Bros. said Thursday that it was acquiring digital media company Machinima and folding it into its just created Warner Bros. Digital Networks division. Warner Bros. first made an $18 million investment in Machinima two years ago, and followed that with another $24 million investment in 2015.
Machinima — which is named after the art of creating videos from computer graphics, many of which are pulled directly from video games — was one of the first advertising-based multicast networks built by YouTube creators. In the beginning, Machinima was mostly about gaming, but it has since expanded into digital video related to all sorts of fandoms, including gaming culture.
“Machinima is a strong gamer and fandom content and social brand with enormous reach and high engagement with audiences that play our games and are big fans of DC films and television shows,” said Warner Bros. Digital Networks President Craig Hunegs in a statement. “Machinima also produces great, high quality content for their community, and together we can create an even more compelling experience and do some really exciting things involving our key franchises. This acquisition is another meaningful move forward as Warner Bros. develops more direct relationships with our consumers.”
According to The Verge, Machinima has more than 12 million followers and more than 220,000 on Twitch. It’s currently run by Chad Gutstein, former COO of Ovation. Gutstein has directed the company toward creating content to air across platforms, including airing the finale of docs-series Chasing the Cup on The CW. Gutstein is also bringing Machinima into e-sports.
“We’ll now be able to take full advantage of Warner Bros.’ intellectual property, sales and distribution, while still creating content for social and premium digital platforms that gamers and geeks love. Plus, we’ll be fully embedded and can help Warner Bros. continue their incredible digital marketing successes,” said Gutstein, also in a statement.
Two of Machinima’s peers, Maker Studios and AwesomenessTV, have been acquired by Warner Bros.’ competitors Disney and DreamWorks Animation.
Warner Bros. itself is in the process of being acquired. In October, AT&T bid $85.4 billion for Time Warner, which owns Warner Bros. The deal still has to clear regulatory approval, but should it close, the combined company will own both Machinima and another digital media company, Fullscreen.
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READ MORE: The Hollywood Reporter, The Verge
[Image courtesy of Machinima]