After being first reported by AllThingsD, online video creator Machinima confirmed Monday that it has closed a $35 million funding round led by Google, which also included existing investors Redpoint Ventures and MK Capital. The new financing comes as Google’s YouTube has been investing heavily in bringing in all sorts of new original programming.
The Machinima network is the largest single page view generator for YouTube, with more than 1.6 billion video views in the month of April. And YouTube is an invaluable partner for Machinima, as it is the company’s primary distribution and monetization platform. With the funding, Machinima says it will invest in content and global sales, as well as international expansion and distribution.
For Google, though, it signals another move toward betting on teams that have proven their ability to grow and scale in what used to be the Wild West of online video. Last year, Google acquired Next New Networks and leveraged it to create YouTube Next, a program for helping independent content creators to improve their video production skills, as well as better leveraging social and other channels for grabbing viewers attention. It’s also betting more than $100 million in an effort to fund a whole new group of independent video channels on its platform.
As I wrote this morning, the race to add interesting independent content is on for a number of streaming providers, including Netflix, Hulu, AOL, and Yahoo, all of which see an opportunity to grow an audience of young new video viewers without having to go through traditional broadcast or cable TV distribution channels.