The Chernin Group has bet $10 million on online video programming. TCG invested that much in Base79, a U.K.-based online media company that operates 550 YouTube channels, in exchange for an estimated 20-28 percent stake.
The strategic investment from ex-News Corp. head Peter Chernin’s management and investment firm was in addition to unspecified additional funding from existing investor MMC Ventures.
“Base79 has established itself as one of the clear leaders in online video, an exciting space that we believe is positioned to grow faster than any other area of media,” said Chernin.
Base79 said it is now in a good position to accelerate its expansion further into and beyond its current footprint in the Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) region. It also intends to build owned-and-operated brands and channels for YouTube and other over-the-top distribution avenues.
The company was founded in 2007 by Ashley MacKenzie (pictured), who previously led the commercial operations of Music Choice. In addition to his own successes, he is well-known in British media circles as the son of Kelvin MacKenzie, who for many years was editor of News Corp.’s The Sun tabloid, the largest-circulation newspaper in the U.K.
Base79 has more than 300 premium content partners, including BBC Worldwide, Endemol’s Tiger Aspect, IMG Media, Simon Cowell’s SyCo, Ministry of Sound and Guinness World Records, generating more than 550 million views per month. (Its show reel is embedded below.)
The company is also a YouTube partner on four original premium channels: Slash Football, in association with sports media company IMG; Flow Flow, a brand dedicated to parkour and other urban athletics; Guinness World Records: OMG!, featuring encounter record-breaking people and places; and Bad Teeth, a comedy blend of grassroots and mainstream stars in association with Hat Trick Productions.
Base79 – http://www.base79.com
Base79 – press release
The Telegraph [U.K.] – Hollywood mogul Peter Chernin buys stake in Base 79
Financial Times – Chernin takes Base 79 stake