When Maker Studios initiated talks with Disney, the MCN did not intend to sell, Ynon Kreiz, executive chairman of Maker, told a room full of industry he heavyweights on Thursday during the 5th annual VidCon.
“We actually did not try, did not plan, did not want to sell the company to Disney initially,” he said in response to a question by panel moderator Andrew Wallenstein, who is the editor-in-chief of digital for Variety.
Kreiz explained that the company wanted to expand and approached Disney for a partnership.
“As this conversation evolved, it became pretty clear that we belong to each other,” the exec said, citing the pair’s common goals of fostering creativity, talent and a good user experience.
Disney agreed to acquire Maker Studios in March for $500 million.
"Short-form online video is growing at an astonishing pace and with Maker Studios, Disney will now be at the center of this dynamic industry with an unmatched combination of advanced technology and programming expertise and capabilities," said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of Disney, in a statement after news of the deal broke.
Kreiz was quick to say Thursday that short-form online videos aren’t just shorter versions of television but really a whole new medium.
“What started as a phenomenon, a self expression with cats on skateboards and grandmothers doing somersaults, is now becoming mainstream,” said Kreig. “It’s a real business.”
Maker has brought Disney into the YouTube ecosystem in a big way.
According to Kreiz, Maker has more than 6.5 billion monthly viewers and more than 450 million subscriptions to the network. The company also recently launched Maker.tv to provide its more than 55,000 creator network with an additional platform.
“Maker at the heart is a creative company,” he said. “Everything we do revolves around talent and empowering creators.”