Posters from "Star Wars" and "The Avengers."
Disney won’t be shy about using its Star Wars and Marvel characters to boost its new network of YouTube channels, as CEO Bob Iger said Monday that he believes Maker Studios’ most important role at the Mouse House will be to put its characters and brands in front of even more people.
“We see Maker Studios first and foremost as a distribution platform, one that not only can command more eyeballs, but more advertising revenue in general,” Iger said Monday on a quarterly earnings call with investors.
Iger acknowledged other motivations for buying the YouTube multichannel network, including expertise in production of short-form video and a rich array of proprietary data to maximize it. Disney agreed to acquire top online-video network Maker Studios in March in a $500 million deal that could hit nearly $1 billion if Maker meets certain performance goals.
But Iger reiterated that the primary reason for the acquisition was for the distribution of Disney brands. He added that the infusion of Disney intellectual property into the hands of Maker producers would only expand the multichannel network’s reach — creating something of a snowball effect.
“Star Wars would be a perfect model of that, Marvel another one,” Iger said. “Then we could let Maker increase the reach of short-form video.”
Could the next Marvel or Star Wars character’s story arc be told through a series of YouTube videos? Marvel is already taking some characters online with four original Netflix series — add Iger’s Monday comments, and it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch.
“We see short-form as a pioneer area,” Iger said. “More revenue, more consumption of our product … We believe in growth in entertainment on mobile platforms. And we feel we needed to be present on that space.”