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If you want a glimpse into the future of the television studio, look no further than Disney’s acquisition of Maker Studios.
Maker, the independent YouTube network behind such online video hits as “Pick Up After Your Dog” and “Epic Rap Battles of History,” may seem like an odd match for a 90-year-old movie and television giant that previously acquired names like Pixar and Lucasfilm. But the $500 million deal — announced last week — provides Disney with a clear path to the way TV production and distribution will work in the years to come.
The acquisition gives the company an established way of reaching people as they shift from watching cable TV to watching online videos. But it also provides direct access to a vast community of video producers who could be the TV artists of tomorrow, and it serves up a vast trove of viewing data that can help Disney fine tune offerings throughout its entertainment empire.