×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney Invests More in Interactive-Content Startup Playbuzz as Part of $35 Million Round

Playbuzz, which develops tools for creating interactive media and distributes branded content, has raised $35 million in Series C funding.

The round was led by Viola Growth with participation from existing investors including Disney, Saban Ventures, 83North, Carmel Ventures, Firstime and Oded Vardi. The funding brings New York-based Playbuzz to a total of $66 million raised to date.

Disney previously participated in Playbuzz’s $15 million round in March 2016, led by Saban Ventures, and uses Playbuzz across several of its divisions including ESPN, ABC and ABC News. “With the biggest, most innovative video company by our side, that helps our credibility,” said Shaul Olmert, co-founder and CEO of Playbuzz (pictured above).

The Playbuzz platform is used by about 13,000 online publishers. The startup’s tools let them create “engaging, visually stunning editorial content” incorporating video and other interactive elements without any design or development expertise, according to Olmert.

Publishing clients include VH1, Huffington Post, NBC and Sky Sports. According to Playbuzz, content created with its platform sees average user sessions of 2-4 minutes, compared with an average of 15 seconds for other content, and has much higher completion rates. “We optimize the content and provide you guidelines for content that is likely to be most successful,” said Olmert.

Popular on Variety

With the new funding, Playbuzz plans to expand its focus on branded content. The company sells native-ad campaigns to top brands, which have included Universal Studios, Netflix, Warner Bros., Unilever and the New York Lottery, and distributes them across a network of tens of thousands of publishers.

Olmert, who previously worked at MTV Networks as VP of digital products, said Playbuzz’s primary competitors are BuzzFeed and Vice: “They’re the usual suspects we are competing against for ad budgets.”

Founded in 2012, Playbuzz has 170 employees at offices in New York, Tel Aviv, London, Hamburg, São Paulo, Moscow and L.A.

On the senior management front, earlier this year Playbuzz tapped Steve Goldstein, previously head of sales and marketing at ZUUS Media and former VP of digital ad sales at BET, as head of North American sales. Last year, it hired Jane Loring as VP of European brand partnerships; previously, she was GM at lifestyle-content company Mode Media, which shut down after filing for bankruptcy last year.

With the latest round of funding, Viola Growth founder and general partner Harel Beit-On has joined Playbuzz’s board.

More Digital

  • Cenk Uygur

    Bernie Sanders Retracts Endorsement of Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur After Backlash

    Bernie Sanders pulled his support for Cenk Uygur’s congressional bid, with the Vermont independent in part acknowledging that Sanders’ supporters were “frustrated” about the endorsement. Sanders, who’s running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, cited Uygur’s announcement Friday that he would not be accepting any endorsements. In a statement, Sanders alluded to sexist and other [...]

  • Tana MongeauStreamy Awards, Arrivals, The Beverly

    Streamy Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List

    The 9th Annual Streamy Awards — honoring the best from YouTube and online video — were held Friday night in Beverly Hills. Tana Mongeau (pictured above) was named Creator of the Year and Rhett & Link’s “Good Mythical Morning” won Show of the Year in the two fan-voted Audience Choice categories. David Dobrik picked up [...]

  • NBC News - Quibi

    NBC News Digital Workers Form New Union

    A group of approximately 150 editorial workers who help produce some of NBC News digital content have formed a union, citing a desire to push their employer to work more seriously through such issues as equal pay and the recent handling of sensitive stories. Editorial employees of NBC News Digital won certification of their union [...]

  • Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    The Fox Nation streaming-video service has long been touted as a new option for super-fans of the Fox News Channel. But some of the broadband hub’s new programming choices suggest adherents of “Fox & Friends” and Sean Hannity aren’t looking solely for chatter about politics and interviews with members of the Trump administration. Subscribers to [...]

  • Facebook

    FTC May Stop Facebook From Integrating Whatsapp, Instagram

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is weighing whether it should seek an injunction against Facebook to prevent the social media giant from integrating services like Whatsapp, Messenger and Instagram with its core app, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Regulators fear that Facebook’s app integration plans could make [...]

  • Ivanka Trump

    Ivanka Trump Reportedly Set to Speak at CES 2020

    Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and an adviser to the president, is scheduled to appear on a panel at CES 2020 in January, according to a published report. Ivanka Trump will appear on a panel set for Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. at the Las Vegas confab with Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content