Warner Brothers doubles down on Machinima, leading $24M round of investment

by Garrett Reim
February 24, 2015
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Machinima raised a $24 million Series E investment round of capital, laid off 13 employees and shutdown some of its YouTube channels this week. The burst of activity is part of the video gaming focused media company’s ongoing effort to restructure. In recent years, the company has undergone several rounds of layoffs, hired a new CEO and widened partnerships. It recently struck new distribution deals with Vimeo, Samsung and Vessel.
 
Machinima’s $24 million Series E investment round was led by Warner Brothers Entertainment and also included Redpoint Ventures, MK Capital, Coffin Capital, and Allen DeBevoise. Warner Brothers also took a stake in Machinima’s previous round investment. 
 
The 13 employees laid-off were part of Respawn, TFTW and certain shows on Machinima LIVE. A company spokesperson said to Variety “this content was simply not delivering the monetization that supports our path to profitability.”
 
However, despite the layoffs the company noted that they currently have 15 open positions and “Machinima is in development on its expanded 2015-16 original programming slate.”
 
Part of that expanded content includes a deal with Vimeo to develop $500,000 of original content. Vimeo is a video platform that is focused on premium video content, often created and uploaded by aspiring videographers. By offering exclusive content on Vimeo Machinima is shifting away from YouTube, a platform that takes a large 45 percent cut of advertising. Maker Studios, another large YouTube MCN, owned by Disney, also recently announced an exclusive content deal with Vimeo.
 
Machinima’s repositioning efforts appear to be paying off. The company cites a 70 percent increase in monthly viewership and a tripling of U.S.-based unique viewership. In total, Machinima has 430 million subscribers worldwide, 170 million monthly unique viewers and 3.7 billion monthly video views.
 
“In 2014, Machinima regained our leadership position in the global digital video marketplace by focusing on our Talent Network and transforming our brand into one that is reflective of our content, our audience and our community of creators,” said CEO Chad Gutstein in a statement. “This additional funding will enable Machinima to accelerate our growth through increased investments in content and technology that better serves our audiences, advertisers, creators and distributors.”
 
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