Turner Leads Refinery29’s $45 Million Round, Aimed at Fueling Digital Video

Prior investor Scripps Networks Interactive also participates in round

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.

Popular on Variety

“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.

More Digital

  • Jake Paul

    YouTuber Jake Paul Launches Entrepreneur How-To Platform, Financial Freedom Movement

    YouTuber Jake Paul wants you to be financially free, for $19.99 a month.  At a rally on Saturday, the content creator — along with influencer friends and around 50 teenage and tween-age fans, some chaperoned by parents — launched the Financial Freedom Movement (FFM) in partnership with GenZ Holdings Inc., a Los Angeles-based brand development [...]

  • HQ Trivia

    HQ Trivia Live Game App Shuts Down

    After a two and a half years, HQ Trivia — the live game-show app that gave away cash prizes to winners — is shutting down. HQ Trivia’s move to shut its doors was first reported by CNN. The company is laying off its 25 full-time staffers, according to the report. In a tweet Friday, CEO [...]

  • Golden Mics - The Podcast Academy

    The Oscars of Podcasting? First 'Golden Mics' Awards to Debut in 2021

    The burgeoning podcast biz is looking for its own version of the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys. On Friday, a group of podcast publishers and producers including Spotify, NPR, PRX, Sony Music Entertainment and Wondery announced the formation of the Podcast Academy, a membership-based organization dedicated to promoting the medium. As part of its charter, the [...]

  • Mike Bloomberg

    Mike Bloomberg's Odd Meme Blitz Spurs Instagram to Require Influencers to Disclose Paid Political Content

    A new paid meme campaign on Instagram by billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who’s running a guerrilla bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has prompted Facebook to clarify that influencers on the platform must disclose such arrangements. This week, Bloomberg’s presidential campaign launched a broad campaign across at least 19 top Instagram accounts with a collective [...]

  • Disney+ on Roku

    Roku Takes Credit for Being 'Important' Part of Disney Plus's Booming Q4 Signups

    Roku, in announcing strong 2019 holiday-quarter results, gave a bit of a flex in claiming it was a key part of Disney Plus reeling in 26.5 million customers in Q4. CEO Anthony Wood, on the company’s earnings call Thursday, gave props to Disney for blowing past Wall Street expectations with the new streaming service in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content