Deals

Viacom takes a stake in web video network Defy Media

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Viacom is the latest big media company to grab a piece of the increasingly hot web video networks that primarily produce video content for YouTube.

Today the company announced it has acquired a minority stake in web video network Defy Media, the new entity that was previously made up of Break Media and Alloy Digital. Defy claims to have 400 million monthly views on its content and 37 million YouTube subscribers.

The Viacom deal follows similar investment activity from across the industry, including Disney’s $500 million purchase of Maker studios, Time Warner’s initial $40 million investment into Maker, and Google’s $35 million acquisition of Machinima.

For Viacom’s stake, it essentially traded in three game studios, including Addicting Games, Shockwave, and GameTrailers. That means the stake probably isn’t anywhere close to what some of Viacom’s competitors have made in YouTube partner networks, but still significant because it shows how much the traditional industry wants into the web video space.

The thing about Viacom is that the company is already doing a bang up job of distributing its online content to the web. (For example, its standalone sites for The Colbert Report, South Park Studios, and The Daily Show, to name a few.) In this case it’s far more likely that Viacom might be able to help Defy with its own monetization.

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