Screengrab courtesy of Machinima via YouTube
The giant YouTube network has hired Chad Gutstein, the former chief operating officer of niche cable network Ovation, according to people familiar with the decision.
Gutstein will replace Machinima co-founder Allen DeBevoise, who will stay on as chairman at the company, which caters to young men who like playing video games and watching other people play video games. A Machinima rep declined to comment.
Gutstein’s hiring comes after a search that kicked off last fall, when Machinima was also trying to close a big funding round. The company had at one point wanted to raise a lot of money and use those funds to start producing its own Netflix-style programming.
Instead, it ended up taking a comparatively small $18 million debt round, led by Warner Bros.
Since Machinima’s funding came around the same time as Disney’s $500 million purchase of Maker Studios, the two deals have been lumped together as signs of big media companies’ interest in YouTube. But the two companies, which at one point were fierce rivals, appear to be on different trajectories. In the last year, Machinima has gone through multiple layoff rounds and has seen several top executives depart.
Still, lots of people continue to watch Machinima’s clips — the company says it attracts more than two billion views a month. And if the young men that make up Machinima’s core audience stay with the network, that could prove attractive to traditional marketers, who are having a hard time connecting to those eyeballs on TV.