×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Makers of Chat Fiction App Yarn Raise $13 Million, Add Original From ‘Saw’ Writers

Mammoth Media, the company behind the Wishbone and Yarn mobile apps, has raised a $13 million Series A round of funding led by Greylock Partners, with participation of Los Angeles-based Mammoth incubator Science Inc. The company wants to use the money to further invest in mobile storytelling.

Yarn is a mobile app that tells stories through text message exchanges, essentially allowing viewers to become voyeurs and read in on the chats between a story’s protagonists. These stories are enhanced with video streams and other media, and area increasingly featuring recognizable talent: Last week, Mammoth debuted a new series called “Hack’d” on Yarn that features Musical.ly influencer Kristen Hancher.

The show, which is all about a hacker attacking a social media star, has been produced by some of the writers of the “Saw” franchise. The company also has projects with Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez and Liam Hemsworth in the works. Yarn users have read 36 million stories since the app launched last year, and are currently reading 1.6 billion episodes per week.

Mammoth Media is defining this new generation of mobile media,” said Greylock Partners partner Josh Elman, who also joined Mammoth’s board of directors, in a statement. “It doesn’t look like books, TV, or movies, it is something different. This new form of media is mobile first, where users touch and interact with the content as they experience it.”

Yarn has also been working with brands including Skype to develop sponsored shows, including one titled “Still Searching” that debuted last week.

Perhaps this type of sponsored content will help the app with one of its biggest problems thus far: An over-reliance on paid subscriptions that seems to turn off numerous prospective users. Browse through Google Play’s reviews for Yarn, and you’ll find countless 1-star reviews complaining that Yarn won’t let users watch videos, or even browse the app’s show directory, without committing to a paid subscription that runs anywhere from $2.99 per week to $39.99 per year.

A spokesperson told Variety that new users of the app would get access to the first episode of  “Hack’d” for free until the end of the week.

More Digital

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Sirius Logo

    SiriusXM Unveils $8 Essential Plan for Consumers Without Cars

    SiriusXM wants to cater consumers without cars, or cars without compatible stereos, with a new $8 plan for mobile and in-home listening. Dubbed SiriusXM Essential, the plan offers access to 200+ channels featuring the network’s entire music programming, as well comedy, news and select sports channels. Consumers will be able to test the new plan [...]

  • Mueller Report Book Editions Top Amazon's

    Mueller Report Book Editions Shoot to Top of Best-Seller Lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble

    Robert Mueller is now a best-selling author. Book publishers’ forthcoming editions of the special counsel’s report zoomed to the top of the Amazon’s and Barnes & Noble’s lists of book best-sellers Friday. That comes a day after the report was publicly released, culminating the nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election [...]

  • Marques Brownlee - Retro Tech

    YouTube Orders Marques Brownlee 'Retro Tech' Original Series

    YouTube has turned to one of its homegrown stars — technology vlogger Marques Brownlee, aka “MKBHD” — for its newest original series. The video platform has greenlit series “Retro Tech” featuring Brownlee, in which he’ll unbox and review vintage technology products that have defined pop culture. The show, slated to debut in December 2019, follows [...]

  • Netflix Tests Random Episode Button in

    Netflix Starts Testing Random Episode Button

    Netflix is testing a button to play random episodes of select TV shows, the company confirmed Friday morning. “We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety. “These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, [...]

  • Netflix Our Planet Sophie Darlington

    Netflix's 'Our Planet' Roars to Life With Work by Top Wildlife Cinematographers

    In terms of scope, production time and — very likely — budget, Netflix’s “Our Planet” is one of the most ambitious projects from the streaming service to date. Narrated by David Attenborough and made available worldwide on April 5, the goal of the eight-part series is to capture diverse habitats across the globe and highlight [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content