At its NewFronts presentation Tuesday evening, Maker Studios’ executive chairman Ynon Kreiz said the deal between Disney and Maker will be a ‘game changer’ for the company and the industry.
Disney announced the acquisition of Maker in March, a deal that could be worth close to $1 billion once incentives are factored in.
Maker will have at its disposal Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, ESPN, ABC and Disney’s archives and plans to create short-form videos. “Our combined reach of unique viewers will be only behind Google and Facebook,” said Kreiz.
In a night full of guest appearances, Maker also announced partnerships with The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, James Franco and Morgan Spurlock.
Spurlock made an appearance to present his new channel “smartish,” with shows Consider the Source and How to Win at Life under the channel.
James Franco and Vince Jolivette’s Rabbit Bandini Productions, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound, skateboarder Nyjah Huston and will.i.am were announced as LABS@MAKER partners.
Chief content officer Erin McPherson was interrupted by Maker talent P’Trique and Miss Piggy. Huston and Maker talent Shay Butler, Chester See and Joseph Garrett all made appearances.
Will.i.am. performed a few songs (including a freestyle with his iPad) with Cody Wise. The Gregory Brothers performed a folk version of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”
Maker Studios unveiled the season premiere of Epic Rap Battles of History to cheers between Walter White and Rick Grimes. The audience cheered Walter White to a victory over Rick.
McPherson was high on the show. “Whenever anyone asks me, ‘Erin, when will YouTube have its House of Cards moment? I tell them it already does. [Epic Rap Battles] is a blockbuster in every sense of the word. 1.5 billion views to date. 30 million average views an episode. Those are numbers that would make broadcasters salivate.”