Los Angeles Business Journal

Maker Studios Launches Geek Channel Polaris

By Natalie Jarvey Friday, August 2, 2013

Maker Studios is embracing geeks online.

The Culver City multi-channel YouTube network announced Thursday it had created a sub-network called Polaris to focus on all types of fandom.

Formerly called Game Station, the network has been re-launched to expand from its video game roots. Polaris will continue to feature video game content from YouTube gamers PewDiePie and Dodger, among others. But it has also expanded to shows that focus on television, comic books and tech news.

Dar Nothaft, vice president and general manager of Polaris, said Maker wanted to expand the network to include other topics gamers were interested in.

"We see ourselves as broader than gaming," he said. "But that doesn't mean we don’t still see ourselves as a gaming network."

According to Maker, the Polaris network of more than 500 channels generates more than 1 billion video views per month. Polaris appears to compete with Machinima and Nerdist Industries, other networks going after the coveted young male demographic.

Machinima raised $35 million from Google last year to grow its video game network, and it's rumored to be looking for more cash. The company, seen as a bellwether in the YouTube space, has yet to prove it can turn its large audience into a successful business.

Maker Studios, meanwhile, has its own deep coffers. The company raised $36 million in a round led by Time Warner Investments last December.

Nothaft said Maker created Polaris because it addressed a genre its audience wanted more of, not to compete with Machinima.

"As we were developing this brand, we weren't thinking of ourselves in opposition to or in the context of other companies," he said. "We wanted to make sure we were thinking honestly and truthfully about our network. There's a very large audience that is interested in these types of things."