The digital media and content company Fullscreen announced on Monday it will shut down its fledgling SVOD service of the same name this Friday. The move will result in about 25 Fullscreen employees losing their jobs.
The six-year-old company was originally founded as a multichannel network for digital talent that had become well-known via their individual YouTube channels. But the digital content market has evolved quickly in the years since. FullScreen is one of the few remaining digital media companies still in the MCN business. But along with rolling out its soon-to-be-closed SVOD service, it has has also expanded its offerings to include a touring group, talent management team and social agency.
Fullscreen is co-owned by The Chernin Group and an AT&T called Otter Media and when its SVOD launched in early 2016, the announced plan was to market the $5-per-month service as a "Netflix for teens." There was also an expectation that the service could be marketed to the established AT&T customer base. But that plan never gelled and the streaming service never quite found an audience.
Fullscreen never publicly revealed subscriber numbers for its SVOD, but its mix of original content from YouTube stars and reruns of more familiar Hollywood titles never seemed to build any momentum.
The news of the decision was announced Monday afternoon to Fullscreen staff via an email from Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos. That email is included in full below:
When we set out to launch our own SVOD service, we knew it would be a huge challenge. We wanted to provide a new platform for the breakthrough creators, personalities and storytellers of social entertainment — and the fans who love them.
A lot went right. Our talented team built and launched a best-in-class OTT product experience from scratch. We created bold, first-of-its-kind original programming that resonated with young fans. Millions downloaded our app and hundreds of thousands became paying subscribers.
Despite our momentum, we’ve made the difficult decision to shut down the Fullscreen SVOD service in Q1 2018. We came to the conclusion that funding SVOD — a longer-term investment — was limiting our ability to invest in our Creator, Brand and Rooster Teeth divisions that have more established scale and immediate impact. I shared this news in person with the core SVOD team earlier today.
Many smart, creative people gave so much in pursuit of this ambitious project, from our staff to our talent and partners. In addition, many young fans supported us by subscribing with their own hard-earned money. We thank you all for giving us a chance.
Going forward, we will double-down on our mission to empower creators and bring brands closer to fans. The award-winning product experience and technology we’ve developed over the past two years will be valuable as we build new brands and content offerings in the future. We will continue to identify and invest in talented creators and make ambitious bets to push the space forward. It’s in our DNA. I will share more details about our evolving strategy at the December all-hands meeting.