21st Century Fox leads $8M funding round for theSkimm in anticipation of OTT video service

Multiplatform content aggregator theSkimm, which last month launched a subscription app and intends to have online video content available in the future, got a shot in the arm from 21st Century Fox (21CF), which led an $8 million Series B funding round for the startup.

Previous investors RRE, Homebrew Ventures, and Greycroft also participated.

Why the interest in a media company that hasn't even launched an online video component yet? According to Fox Networks Group President and COO Randy Freer, it's all about audience engagement. "We were immediately impressed with theSkimm's unique editorial voice, and by their ability to drive meaningful engagement with their community of users," he said. "[Co-founders] Carly and Danielle have mastered the art of building community and have quickly proven they can effectively expand their suite of products to serve their ever growing audience."

It can't hurt that theSkimm has an established base of 3.5 million active daily users and an advertiser-friendly business model that uses brand ambassadors located around the country. Further, the media company's co-founders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin have a stated goal to add a video component to the service, saying in a blog post that "we are going into video" with the introduction of Skimm Studios. They're also rolling out several new, unnamed products thanks to the funding boost.

They're equally happy with 21CF's investment as well. "21CF had an immediate understanding of the power of our community and our commitment to build a multi-platform audience company. Once we had a deeper understanding of how entrepreneur friendly they were, it was an easy decision for us," Weisberg and Zakin wrote.

The company didn't offer more details on its planned expansion or give a time frame for build and launch of the online video service.

The investment in theSkimm also points to a trend among traditionally non-video-oriented media companies to provide a branded online video experience to their audience. While some magazines like Cosmo experimented with video websites in the recent past, with varied success, other media outlets are revamping their strategy around online video. The New York Times, for example, built its own online video delivery platform to deliver news-oriented video content to subscribers across screens. And Time, Inc., last fall launched Sports Illustrated Films, which offers long-form sports content to viewers on its online channel.

For more:
- see the release
- see this blog post

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