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React Media, Pioneering YouTube Video Producers, Acquired by Startup Electric Monster

React Media acquired by Electric Monster
React Media

Electric Monster Media, a newly formed digital media roll-up company, has acquired React Media, whose popular YouTube franchises built around reaction videos include React, People vs. Food (formerly Replay) and Try Not To.

React Media, previously known as FBE (Fine Brothers Entertainment), was originally formed by brothers Rafi and Benny Fine in 2004, who hit it big as YouTube creators in the platform’s earlier days. The company’s flagship React channel on YouTube has 20 million subscribers and more than 11 billion views to date.

React Media is Electric Monster’s fifth acquisition to date, but Electric Monster CEO Matt Gielen declined to identify the other properties it has acquired.

As part of its acquisition of React Media, Electric Monster will take over all brands under the React Media umbrella — including Kids React, Teens React and Celebs React — along with the entire social footprint of its brands across YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and more. Additionally, nearly the entire React Media team, about 25 employees, will stay on to help continue to run the channels, while Electric Monster will use its proprietary, data-driven audience growth and optimization methodologies to continue to expand the reach of new and existing content.

Benny and Rafi Fine are not joining Electric Monster. In a statement provided to Variety, they said, “We have always wanted to build a strong digital brand with the intention of eventually passing it on to people we know would be able to help it continue to grow. After working on the company nonstop for over 15 years, we are happy to see it transitioning to Electric Monster, and we’ll be stepping away to finally spend some quality time with our family. We trust the company and channels are in good hands to continue to evolve, expand and thrive.”

Marc Hustvedt, former CEO of React Media, has joined the team at MrBeast running the YouTube creator company’s core studio business.

Electric Monster was formed earlier this year out of YouTube-focused media agency Little Monster. That was founded by Gielen, a YouTube strategist who previously helped grow the online video businesses of Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Fandango’s Movieclips.

Gielen said the new company is investing in and acquiring “brand-friendly” digital video channels to scale and build their audiences.

“Despite being in its infancy, the digital video ecosystem and creator economy is massive,” Gielen said. “Electric Monster is focused on finding and investing in the channels on these platforms with significant unrealized potential, and building them into the valuable properties they are meant to be.”

React Media, in addition to their strong content brand, also brings Electric Monster “a tremendous amount of social media expertise,” Gielen said, which the company will apply to other properties.

Based in Burbank, Calif., Electric Monster has raised an unspecified amount of funding. That includes debt facility from Metropolitan Partners Group and equity capital from investors including Heroic Ventures (led by Michael Fertik), Creator Capital (led by former YouTube exec Benjamin Grubbs), Together Venture Partners (led by Eric Gutshall), and Vikrant Mathur and Alok Ranjan (founders of Future Today, sold to Cinedigm).

The Electric Monster team includes head of programming Harry Jho (founder/CEO of Sockeye Media, owner of Mother Goose Club); head of IP and licensing Elan Freedman (currently principal of Surge Licensing, an IP development and licensing agency); CFO Ian Haft (former partner at Cornwall Capital Management); and board members Paul Hanson (veteran Hollywood exec who is currently CEO of Capacitor Studios) and Asa Greenberg (currently managing director at Capacitor Studios and former managing director for Cornwall Capital’s entertainment/media division).