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Brian Robbins Exiting as AwesomenessTV CEO

Variety logo Variety 2/22/2017 Todd Spangler
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Brian Robbins, co-founder and CEO of teen-skewing digital network AwesomenessTV, is leaving the company.

His resignation, which Robbins announced in a memo to staffers Wednesday, comes after Comcast last summer completed its $3.8 billion acquisition of DreamWorks Animation, which owns a majority stake in AwesomenessTV. Brett Boutier, president of AwesomenessTV, will now lead the company.

“After an amazing ride, five fantastic years building an awesome company and brand alongside an incredible team of people, the time is right for me to pass the baton and seek new challenges,” Robbins wrote in the memo.

Robbins, previously a TV and movie producer who formed AwesomenessTV in 2012 with Joe Davola, didn’t indicate what he may be planning to do next. Robbins wrote in the email that he will be “sticking around” during a transition period.

In 2013 DreamWorks Animation, under then-CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, bought AwesomenessTV in a deal worth at least $33 million — one of the first traditional media companies to place a sizable bet on original digital-video content. When Comcast’s deal for DWA closed last August, Katzenberg left with a $391 million cash-out package and he’s since formed a digital media and technology investment firm called WndrCo.

In April 2016, Verizon acquired a 24.5% stake in AwesomenessTV, with the telco investing $159 million in the company. Hearst holds the remaining 24.5% stake.

Earlier this year, Verizon and AwesomenessTV shut down their premium-content joint venture headed by former ABC TV exec Samie Kim Falvey. The JV, which had been internally dubbed “Made for Mobile,” was intended to be a sort of HBO for millennials. The two companies said they’ll instead focus on developing original programming for Verizon’s Go90 mobile video service.

AwesomenessTV’s business centers around producing original programming aimed at Gen Z audiences, distributed on YouTube, Go90 and other platforms. It also operates the ATV Network, a YouTube creator network; influencer talent-management firm Big Frame; DreamWorksTV; millennial-mom-focused network Awestruck; Awesomeness Films; research unit Wildness; and consumer products, music and branded entertainment divisions.

Read Robbins’ full memo:

Team ATV-

After an amazing ride, five fantastic years building an awesome company and brand alongside an incredible team of people, the time is right for me to pass the baton and seek new challenges.

It’s not a decision I made lightly. I love AwesomenessTV and all of you; I will really miss coming in here every day. I’m enormously proud of what we have been able to build together.

We’ve exceeded any expectations I could have set when Joe and I started this journey. What began as a YouTube channel has turned into a global brand and the essential next generation media company for Generation Z.

AwesomenessTV is built to last and there is so much talent here who will carry this company forward, especially Brett who has been a partner with me nearly the entire time. He will continue to lead the company and, along with me, will find a creative partner to help continue the expansion of this business. I’ll be sticking around through the transition and Joe will be staying on in his role.

I will always carry this company in my heart and I am forever grateful to each of you for the hard work, dedication and love that you have put into our business. You should be proud of what we have built together, I certainly am. And I can’t wait to see what’s next for AwesomenessTV’s success.

This company was built on a culture of creativity. I urge you all to keep forging ahead on that road. Change creates opportunities for creativity to blossom. Use this change to discover new talent, break boundaries and have no fear. I know that you all will continue to create awesomeness.

Once again, thank you all for five unbelievable years.

Brian

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