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The Baltimore Sun

German media firm enters U.S. market with a YouTube channel

German media giant ProSiebenSat.1 Group's Studio71 enters U.S. market with a YouTube channel

German media giant ProSiebenSat.1 Group's Studio71, a multichannel network for online video users, is saying hallo to the U.S. market with its new YouTube channel "The Mansion."

Set in West Hollywood, "The Mansion" brings YouTube superstars from Germany and the U.S. under one roof to exchange ideas, share projects and produce video content together. The program began last week.

"It's like a reality show for YouTube," said Christian Meinberger, head of content programming and production for Studio71.

ProSiebenSat.1 Group has been pushing to boost its digital and production business since March, when it acquired a 20% stake in Collective Digital Studio, a U.S. multichannel network that produces, distributes and markets video content on digital platforms. Collective Digital Studio markets popular Web stars and formats such as "The Annoying Orange," "Epic Meal Time" and "FreddieWong/Video Game High School."

"Our plan is to be the first international [multichannel network] to target the American market," Sebastian Weil, managing director of Studio71, said in a news release. "We are creating a truly global platform for American branded entertainment sponsors and leading Web talent."

Though their names may not be familiar in the U.S., talent from Germany includes the country's No. 1 YouTube star Gronkh, fitness guru Karl Ess, comedian MissesVlog and gaming entertainers David Hain and Fabian Siegismund. The American stars will include Daneboe, who created "The Annoying Orange," and American-German crossover star D.J. Flula.

Studio71 decided L.A. was the best place to set the series.

"We wanted to set foot in the international market. and the idea of the show is to have a creativity hub where we bring our YouTube talent here," Meinberger said. "Hollywood offers top-tier entertainment that will inspire our Web stars."

So far, the channel has logged 1.7 million views and 100,000 subscribers, but Meinberger said he is hoping to double those figures in the next couple of weeks as more online talent joins the team. Though the audience is about 80% male, Meinberger said bringing on new talent will also increase female viewership.

Several of the German YouTube stars of "The Mansion" will head to Anaheim next weekend to recruit more talent at VidCon, a conference for people who love online video.

"We are looking forward to acquiring new talent for our network," Meinberger said.

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