clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Less Than Two Years After a Blockbuster Disney Deal, Maker Studios CEO Ynon Kreiz Leaves

Like we told you.

Alison Buck/Getty Images
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Ynon Kreiz, who helped build Maker Studios then sold the Web video network to Disney for more than $500 million in 2014, is stepping down as Maker’s CEO. He’ll be replaced by Courtney Holt, who had previously been Maker’s chief operating officer; Holt’s new title will be executive vice president.

Kreiz’s departure isn’t surprising to people in or outside of Disney. As I reported in August, there was widespread speculation that Kreiz would leave at the end of 2015, which is when Maker’s earn-out agreement with Disney expires. The fact that Holt is sticking around will be news to some observers, who had predicted he would leave as well.

Disney’s purchase of Maker remains the biggest Web video acquisition of this era. But it won’t end up being as big as Kreiz and his investors had hoped.

When Disney purchased the company, it agreed to pay up to $450 million more over the next year and a half if Maker hit certain goals. For a brief period, Kreiz and his backers seemed quite confident that they would hit those marks, but it didn’t pan out.

In August, Disney paid $105 million out of a potential $200 million to cover the first part of Maker’s earn-out agreement. We’ll find out how much of the remaining $250 million it will pay out next year, but a recent SEC filing suggests Disney thinks it will end up spending another $100 million.

Still, Maker has continued to grow under Disney. In the spring of 2014, the video network was generating around 5.5 billion views a month; since then it has ballooned to 12 billion a month.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.