Earlier this year, AT&T said it was giving Peter Chernin $500 million to buy and build a collection of “over the top” Web video assets. And since then, we’ve been waiting for the former News Corp. executive to make a move.
So here are two. Spoiler: Neither is earth-shaking.
- Chernin and AT&T are calling the company “Otter Media.” Go figure.
- Otter Media is buying Creativebug, a Web video site that specializes in selling how-to clips to crafters, for $10 million. They’re acquiring the site from Demand Media, which bought the company in March 2013.
At the time, Demand Media still had aspirations of making big moves in the media business, and it thought Creativebug could help it carve out a new revenue stream from paid content. Back then, I guessed that it paid “low double-digit millions” for the company, founded by former Time Inc. art director Jeanne Lewis; now I hear I overestimated by a million or two.
It’s unclear whether Otter Media intends to keep Creativebug’s freemium model, though the press release says the site plans “to continue to extend our premium video class offerings.” So I’m taking that as a qualified yes.
It would also make some sense, since Otter Media, via a previous Chernin investment, already controls Crunchyroll, another subscription video site.
I’m guessing that Chernin and Otter Media will be making bigger moves down the road. For instance, it’s one of the possible buyers for Fullscreen, the big YouTube network that has drawn lots of attention since Disney bought Maker Studios. Again, Chernin already owns a chunk of that one; and again, Fullscreen is planning its own freemium play as well.
Chernin could conceivably fund that one with the money AT&T has pledged to Otter. But if he wants to go bigger than that and chase an asset like Vevo, the music video site that’s up for sale this summer, he’ll need more capital.