It’s been 15 months since Danny Zappin left his position at Maker Studios, the multi-channel network that he helped to found and later run as CEO. In that time, he’s been busy developing new entrepreneurial projects (Disclaimer: One of those projects is NMR, of which Danny Zappin is an owner). Now he’s finally ready to unveil his newest venture: Zealot.
According to Zappin, Zealot will utilize the network model that he helped to pioneer at Maker Studios. However, instead of bringing together content creators from a single platform, Zealot will create a network of media entrepreneurs and startup digital media companies. Instead of being a network of individual talents, Zealot will look at build connections and productive synergies between companies within the digital media landscape.
What that will look like remains to be seen, but Zappin brings considerable experience as well as resources to the table. As a founder of Maker Studios, he participated in the building of the MCN ecosystem from the ground up. He’s also a beneficiary of Maker’s recent sale to the Walt Disney Company, which is one reason that Zealot won’t need to rely on outside venture capital. Instead, the company has raised its initial $25 million in funding from Zappin himself and a small circle of personal colleagues. That circle includes former and current Maker employees as well as other new media talent and members of Zealot’s executive team.
Over the last year, rounds of consolidation swept the MCN landscape as most of the remaining independent networks have allowed themselves to be acquired by larger media conglomerates or other MCNs. A clear sign that the time for homegrown media built entirely in the shadow of YouTube’s ecosystem has drawn to a close. Perhaps Zappin’s new model, a digital network that goes beyond connecting and incubating talent, is the next stage of digital media’s evolution.