According to Variety, Warner Brothers is pumping $18 million into the once trend-leading video game-centered youtube channel, Machinima. The investment seems counterintuitive when one considers how the channel has been consistently losing viewership despite regularly posting original scripted series, animated shows and gameplay videos. Business has been so bad that channel fired 30 percent of its staff just last week.
A statistic Variety received from comScore reveals that the channel “had about 16 million unique monthly U.S. visitors on YouTube, less than half the 35 million users it registered a year earlier.” So why stand behind them? Exec VP of Warner Bros., Thomas Gewecke told Variety, “Machinima has been a ‘pioneer and category leader in the YouTube MCN space… We’ve been impressed with Machinima as a distribution partner, and by their focus on creators and commitment to high-quality, exciting original digital content.” On top of just being supportive, Machinima has a deal with Warner Bros. original online series Mortal Kombat: Legacy, giving a more obvious business interest in keeping Machinima alive.
Machinima claims they will use the investment to better develop their content and produce more sophisticated projects. We’ll see if Warner Brothers risk pay off.