Maker Studios raises another $26 millionSeptember 12, 2013: 9:00 AM ET
YouTube-based network Maker Studios, which sees about 4 billion streams per month, is raising more money to help expand its global footprint.
FORTUNE -- Maker Studios, the powerhouse network of YouTube channels, said Thursday that it secured an additional $26 million investment, bringing the total amount it has raised since December to $62 million.
Maker, which is behind YouTube mega-hits like Epic Rap Battles of History and PewDiePie, said the additional financing, much of it from overseas investors, will help it expand globally. Already half of Maker's audience comes from outside the U.S., Ynon Kreiz, the company's executive chairman said in an interview. In addition, content creators from more than 80 countries contribute to its network.
Like other YouTube-based networks, Maker has been trying to diversify its audience across other platforms, both to reach more viewers and to find venues where monetization could be more effective than on YouTube (GOOG). Maker took a big step in that direction last month when it acquired Blip, a video maker and distributor.
"We look to reach people wherever they are," Kreiz said. "Not everyone is on YouTube all the time. As part of our expansion we are looking to grow our web presence and mobile presence."
Maker has amassed a network of some 60,000 channels, whose videos are viewed 4 billion times a month in aggregate. Almost all of those views are on YouTube. Kreiz said that while other platforms will help Maker reach new users and draw new sources of revenue, the core of the company's business will remain on YouTube. "Most of the revenue we expect to generate is on YouTube," he said.
With the latest investment, the frenzy of activity around Google-owned YouTube, which was the subject of a recent Fortune cover story (How YouTube changes everything), continues to gather steam. Last month, Tastemade, which aims to create an online rival to cable channels like The Food Network, raised an additional $10 million.
Kreiz said the investments reflect the emergence of online video as a mainstream medium that is exploding in popularity. "If you look at the numbers, you don't have to be a genius to see where it's heading," he said.
Kreinz declined to discuss Maker's finances and would not comment on whether the company, which has about 350 people, is profitable. But he said that Maker's revenue this year will be three times larger than in 2012.
Maker's new investors include Canal +, the French media company, Astro, a Malaysian media group, and SingTel Innov8, a unit of SingTel, a leading telecommunications company in Asia. With the additional cash, Maker is closing its Series C investment round, which was led by Time Warner Investments (a unit of Fortune's parent company Time Warner (TWX)). Other investors included Upfront Ventures, Greycroft Partners, and Downey Ventures, the investment company for Robert Downey Jr. and Elisabeth Murdoch. The first portion of the round was announced in December.