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The New Switcheroo, Lauren Henry ('15)

What does the president of Maker Studios do?

Maker Studios is a global leader in online short-form video and the largest content network on YouTube. Our mission at Maker is to inspire expression and empower creators to maximize their reach and monetization, all while entertaining global fans and enabling brands to reach these audiences at scale. As president, I work with our leaders to explore new possibilities; we are always iterating on innovative solutions, ideas, partnerships and projects. I also work very closely with the Disney management team to help lead a successful integration across divisions on a global scale.

It’s been a year since Maker was acquired — what has the acquisition meant to the company?

What an exciting year for Maker! It’s clear that both Disney and Maker share the same DNA of high-quality content with a strong focus on consumer experience, engagement and storytelling — which makes our collaborations seamless. The acquisition has made strategic sense as it gives Maker access to some of the most popular content globally and allows Disney to leverage Maker’s expertise, audience, and technology to expand its existing businesses across a new medium that reaches a hard-to-find demographic. Our new relationship allows Maker access to Disney’s IP, serving as a catalyst for further expansion in short-form online video, and this is just the beginning.

At the moment, Maker’s content is closely tied to YouTube. Will we be able to say that in five years? How about in just one year?

YouTube has been and for the foreseeable future will be a great partner for Maker. We continue to make new strides in our relationship, spearheading unique opportunities and collaborations such as the recent original series “Wonder Quest” starring Stampylonghead, which reached over 10 million views in just one month. Maker looks to reach audiences wherever they are and to collaborate with platforms that fit the content or the creator. We recently launched a Maker channel on Dish’s SlingTV and Spotify and are expanding globally with the Maker On Demand service launching on Canal+ in France and Globe Telecom in the Philippines. We have partnered with Vimeo and Samsung, among others, to create and distribute content to new audiences, and there are also opportunities across linear television.

What Maker content are you watching? What would you recommend to Assets readers?

With so much content and so many genres available, there really is something for everyone in the short-form space. I always recommend “Epic Rap Battle of History” (youtube.com/ERB) or “Bad Lip Reading” (youtube.com/BLR) for their comedic appeal.

Maker gets 10 billion views a month. Beyond views, how do you assess the success of content?

Viewership is not the only performance indicator; in fact, one of the most important metrics in content success is audience engagement — whether viewers are commenting and sharing compared to how many people have watched. If the audience is small in number but huge in engagement, we find that to be very valuable. We also get excited about content purely for its innovative approach and creative premise and we find new ways of storytelling successful in their own right.

Will we ever go beyond the pre-roll?

Many brands are exploring the transactional and subscription-based models driven by the appeal of natively digital stars such as Vessel, Vimeo and even Maker. With Maker On Demand part of subscription-based services, Maker is already going beyond the pre-roll. The evolving distribution landscape for online video, specifically short-form, is extremely interesting: with the digital ecosystem rapidly growing, the future looks very bright for online content in general and short-form video in particular.