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Scripps acquires multi-platform satire brand Cracked

MUMBAI: US media company Scripps has acquired multi-platform satire brand Cracked, which informs and entertains millennial audiences through a site, mobile apps, original digital video, social media and a popular podcast.

“Cracked is the expert in using clever humor to engage a younger audience that is very loyal to its brand. Its editorial vision brings a fresh perspective to the way the next generation creates and consumes news, information and entertainment,” said Scripps chairman, president and CEO Rich Boehne.

Cracked said that it ranks in the top tier of digital humour-focused brands and has a strong following among younger consumers, especially affluent millennial males. Regularly ranking first or second among comedy sites according to comScore, Cracked’s audience is loyal and deeply engaged. A full 50% of Cracked.com’s audience comes directly to the site, and users spend an average of 8 minutes engaging with the text and video — attractive metrics that are rarely matched by digital publishers in today’s environment of hyper-fragmentation and reliance on social media.

Cracked is an ad-supported business with the scale to deliver impact for brands seeking to reach millennial consumers.

Scripps and Cracked’s current owner, Demand Media have agreed to a $39 million cash purchase price. Cracked had revenue in 2015 of approximately $11 million and was profitable.

Cracked adds to the growing portfolio of Scripps digital and over-the-top brands. In 2015, Scripps purchased podcast industry leader Midroll Media, expanding its reach into over-the-top audio. Also in 2015, the company repositioned and accelerated the expansion of Newsy, its OTT video news brand. Today, Newsy has reached distribution agreements with the majority of the emerging OTT TV platforms, including Sling TV and Apple TV.

“Cracked is a natural extension of the Scripps strategy to take a leadership position in high-growth content marketplaces. Scripps will help Cracked reach new and larger audiences as it continues to build its brand on the web, in over-the-top video and audio and on other emerging platforms,” said Scripps chief digital officer Adam Symson.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Cracked launched in 1958 as a humour magazine. It was purchased in 2007 by Demand Media, which focused on growing the website Cracked.com.

The Cracked team will continue to operate out of its Santa Monica offices and will be led by Mandy Ng Rusin, general manager and vice president, and Jack O’Brien, vice president and editor-in-chief.

“Scripps is a natural partner for Cracked as we continue to invest in creating high-quality content focused on original journalism, social commentary and pop culture analysis, all through a comedic lens. Our companies share a nimble approach to testing new digital platforms to reach and engage audiences and advertisers,” said Rusin.