Services & Software

Fullscreen buys ScrewAttack gaming-video makers

Fullscreen, one of YouTube's biggest multichannel networks, snaps up the gaming-video outfit, marking the first takeover that brings new-media video creators directly into the company's fold.


Top YouTube multichannel network Fullscreen acquired ScrewAttack, a group of that produces gaming videos and related content for YouTube, Twitch, and its own Web site, in the first instance that Fullscreen has outright purchased a content creator.

The company didn't disclose terms of the deal. Fullscreen last year raised a reported $30 million in an investment round from former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin's Chernin Group, ad agency WPP Digital, and Comcast Ventures.

Disney's $500 million purchase of rival multichannel network Maker Studios last week turned a spotlight on the motley category of MCNs, which are a class of online media programmers and services companies that emerged alongside the stratospheric rise of YouTube. MCNs arose to connect emerging and aspiring online video stars with advertisers, taking a cut of the revenue from ads, and to provide tools to improve creators' videos and their reach.

Fullscreen is one of the biggest of those, with ComScore ranking it as the third-largest YouTube partner channel by unique visitors, trailing music video joint venture Vevo and Zefr, another MCN, in the latest rankings.

Fullscreen's ScrewAttack purchase is the first time it has outright bought an online video property, following up its acquisition of the makers of Viddy, a mobile video app often described as the Instragram of video (before Instagram became the Instagram of video). It also follows Fullscreen's deal late last year to sign top YouTube act the Fine Bros. -- recognizable for their "Kids/YouTubers/Elders React..." videos -- including a dedicated fund toward producing new content and possibly migrating them to traditional TV, where the pot of money to be made is much bigger than online.

The ScrewAttack purchase also gives Fullscreen a gaming-video brand, one of the most fervent categories of online video. Rival Maker Studios' PewDiePie video-game channel leads YouTube in popularity with more than 25 million subscribers.

ScrewAttack's YouTube channel has nearly 850,000 subscribers, while its own Web site gets more than 5 million monthly views and 1.7 million unique visitors a month. The group also runs a grassroots gaming conference in its home base of Dallas, which drew 3,200 attendees last year. Mega gaming conventions like E3 draw tens of thousands of attendees and flashy presentations by top game companies, and Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos told CNET that the company hopes to cultivate the conference arm into a bigger business.

As an apropos way of announcing the takeover, ScrewAttack made a video about how the deal got done, a retelling that includes, for example, CEO and founder Strompolos ascending to the company's leadership from lowly receptionist by serving up a good cup of coffee. ScrewAttack also plans to hold a live Q&A about the deal with its audience on the Twitch platform at 4 p.m. PT.