×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cheddar Acquired by Cable Operator Altice USA for $200 Million

Altice USA announced a deal to buy millennial-news streaming startup Cheddar for $200 million.

It’s a successful exit for three-year-old Cheddar and its founder and CEO, Jon Steinberg: Altice USA was among the investors in Cheddar, which had raised a total of $54 million in funding. Other investors included Amazon, AT&T, Comcast Ventures, Raine Ventures, Liberty Global, Goldman Sachs, the New York Stock Exchange, Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Cheddar will become part of Altice USA News, the New York-area cable operator’s local news division whose properties include the News 12 Networks (available on to Optimum cable customers) and international and current affairs news network i24News.

Steinberg, a former BuzzFeed exec who founded the company in 2016, will join Altice USA to lead the news division.

“Cheddar has demonstrated an innovative approach to live news while building an engaged audience, solid followership and a strong brand,” Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei said in announcing the deal. “As one of Cheddar’s early investors, we have enjoyed our partnership with Jon and admire the entrepreneurial spirit, energy and smart disruptive mentality that he brings to the news business.”

Cheddar operates two networks — the recently rebranded Cheddar Business, positioned as a CNBC-style financial and business network for millennials, and Cheddar News, which it previously called Cheddar Big News. Cheddar’s linear programming is available to 40 million pay-TV households via pacts with Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV, Philo, and PlayStation Vue, as well as on free platforms including Roku devices and Viacom’s Pluto TV. The company says it also generates over 400 million views views monthly on social media.

Altice USA said it expects the Cheddar deal to close in the next two months, contingent on regulatory approvals.

In a statement, Steinberg said, “Our goal is to make Altice News a leader in local, business, national, and international news everywhere as we look to build a live news offering for customers in the traditional pay-TV ecosystem, as well as those looking to a la carte alternative [subscription video-on-demand] services, [virtual internet pay-TV providers], and free systems for their non-news entertainment.”

Cheddar itself spent around $10 million on acquisitions. Last year, in two separate deals with Viacom, it bought RateMyProfessors.com (which has over 5 million users) and MTV Networks on Campus, which Cheddar used to launch CheddarU, a collegiate-focused news network that runs on 1,600 TV screens across 600 U.S. campuses.

In an interview with Variety in January, Steinberg said, “I don’t think our exit is going to be someone writing a giant check for us” — but said it would make sense for Cheddar to become part of a local TV station group or to combine with the news operations of a larger media company.

In 2018, Cheddar generated $27 million in revenue (up from $11 million from 2017), mostly from advertising and branded content, according to Steinberg, who forecast sales to nearly double this year. The startup wasn’t yet profitable but was on track to turn into the black by the end of 2019, Steinberg said in January. Cheddar had about 180 employees at the start of this year.

Cheddar is already an existing Altice USA News programming partner. The operator’s News 12 airs the daily Cheddar Tech Report, and i24News runs top stories from Cheddar as part of its global news coverage.

Altice USA was formed after French telecommunications company Altice bought Cablevision Systems in a $17.7 billion deal in 2016 and merged it with the previously acquired Suddenlink Communications. Altice USA went public two years ago.

Pictured above: Cheddar founder-CEO Jon Steinberg (l.), Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei

More Digital

  • Mackenzie Davis Terminator Dark Fate

    ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “Terminator: Dark Fate.” Ads placed for the sci-fi action film had an estimated media value of $6.81 million through Sunday for 796 national ad airings [...]

  • Ronan Farrow book Catch and Kill

    Ronan Farrow Inks Podcast Series Deal for 'Catch and Kill' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Ronan Farrow is launching a podcast offshoot of his best-selling book “Catch and Kill.” Slated to premiere in November, “The Catch and Kill Podcast With Ronan Farrow” will feature new audio material and interviews with people Farrow interviewed about allegations involving sexual misconduct of media industry figures including Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer — and [...]

  • Katie Couric Sheryl Sandberg

    Katie Couric Steamrolls Sheryl Sandberg in Roving Vanity Fair Summit Interview

    Sending a jolt through a luxurious and excessively polite afternoon in Beverly Hills, veteran journalist Katie Couric delivered a relentless series of hardball questions to Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday. Speaking in conversation at the sixth annual Vanity Fair New Establishment summit at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Couric’s [...]

  • Parker Posey

    Parker Posey Stars in 'Hunted,' First Podcast From Dick Wolf and Endeavor Audio (EXCLUSIVE)

    Parker Posey will star in prison-break thriller “Hunted,” the first podcast from Endeavor Audio and Dick Wolf’s Wolf Entertainment. Posey (“Dazed and Confused,” “Scream 3,” “Superman Returns”) will star in the scripted podcast series alongside Brandon Scott (“13 Reasons Why,” “Dead to Me,” “Grey’s Anatomy”). In the eight-episode show, U.S. Deputy Marshal Emily Barnes (Posey) [...]

  • Snapchat

    Snapchat Grows to 210 Million Daily Users, Surpasses Q3 Revenue Expectations

    Snapchat is growing again, and getting better at monetizing all those eyeballs: The service ended its fiscal third quarter with 210 million daily active users, compared to 203 million at the end of Q2, its corporate parent Snap Inc. revealed as part of its earnings release Tuesday afternoon. Snap Inc. generated some $446 million revenue [...]

  • Fire TV News

    Amazon Launches Ad-Supported News Video App

    Amazon officially announced its long-rumored ad-supported news video service Tuesday. The new service will be available on Fire TV devices as well as Fire tablets, and rely on videos from publishers including CBS News, Reuters, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, People, Cheddar and others. News coverage served up through the app includes livestreams as well as on-demand [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content