Disney Buys YouTube Network

The Walt Disney Company has acquired Maker Studios, a network of online video content on YouTube, for $500 million and an additional $450 million if strong performance targets are met.

The YouTube network currently has more than 55,000 channels, 380 million subscribers and pulls in 5.5 billion views a month.

Disney sees the acquisition as a way to “gain advanced technology and business intelligence capability regarding consumers’ discovery and interaction with short-form online videos.”

“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,” says Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company.

The deal is expected to close in Disney’s third fiscal quarter.

Maker Studios will report to Disney’s chief financial officer Jay Rasulo and will remain headquartered in Culver City, Calif., with operations in New York and London.