Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting, in the latest move to seed its digital media future, has led a $45 million investment in Refinery29, a fast-growing media company focused on millennial female audiences.
The pact brings another TV partner into Refinery29’s fold, with previous investor Scripps Networks Interactive also contributing to the latest round. To date, the New York-based company has raised $125 million; other investors include WPP, Hearst, Stripes Group, Floodgate, Lead Edge Capital, First Round Capital and Lerer Ventures.
With Turner’s investment, the companies plan to collaborate on developing content tied to programming across Turner’s cable networks and targeted to Refinery29’s young-female demo and also will team on cross-platform ad sales. Christina Miller, president and G.M. of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, will join Refinery29’s board.
For Turner, the deal year represents another bet on broadening its online-video lens. The cable programmer led a $15 million investment in Mashable this spring, and acquired a majority stake in streaming-video provider iStreamPlanet last year for $148 million. In June, Turner relaunched online comedy brand Super Deluxe, focused on producing offbeat and subversive material across multiple platforms, including long-form TV series.
“In order to achieve success in today’s quickly evolving digital environment, we believe in partnering with brands that have distinct voices and loyal, engaged audiences,” Turner president David Levy said in announcing the funding. “Refinery29 certainly fits the bill, bringing with it a highly coveted following of millennial-minded women, strong capabilities in digital products, event marketing and content creation, as well as an attractive advertiser base.”
Refinery29, founded in 2005, has about 27 million unique visitors per month to its website and claims to reach over 225 million users across all platforms.
“We are thrilled to bring Turner on board as a key strategic partner,” co-founders and co-CEOs Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano said in a joint statement. “Turner’s portfolio consists of many of the world’s strongest media properties and is a true leader in global content creation.”
In the past year, Refinery29 has expanded internationally via launch of websites in the U.K. and Germany. It’s also boosted its video lineup with new formats and genres, including the launch of new thematic channels such as Brawlers (sports), Short Cuts (beauty) and RIOT (comedy), as well as the launch of the company’s first podcast and app.