Funny Or Die Gets Strategic Investment From Turner, Looks To Accelerate Growth

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Independent online video company Funny Or Die is about to get a lot of help from a traditional TV company, as it’s struck a strategic partnership with Turner Broadcasting to collaborate on multiplatform video content. As part of the deal, Turner is taking a small minority stake in Funny Or Die — terms of which have not been disclosed.

“We’re at an inflection point with digitally distributed video,” Funny Or Die CEO Dick Glover told me by phone. He says that as a result, the timing of the deal is poised to coincide with that inflection point and catalyze further growth for Funny Or Die.

For 2012, Funny Or Die is averaging around 14-16 million uniques per month, and has seen 60 percent growth year over year. But it’ll likely get a big boost once it starts leverage Turner properties, but especially TBS and Adult Swim. Internet distribution is nice, but it still doesn’t match the reach that a content creator can get from TV. According to Glover, the partnership will “provide a microphone to reach a much larger audience.”

While the Internet video company will get some help in promotion, Glover said there’ll be no real change in how the company is run or what kind of content it puts out. It’ll still develop for a multiplatform audience, which includes online, mobile, and TV — where appropriate.

This isn’t the first partnership that Funny Or Die has struck with a TV network. It also has a deal with HBO (which, like Turner, is also part of Time Warner) for its original series Funny Or Die Presents, now in its third season. That deal remains in place and isn’t affected by the Turner partnership, Glover said.

As viewership — especially among young people — moves away from traditional TV and to other channels, broadcast and cable networks are starting to look at online video distributors for help in this new, multiplatform environment. The Turner partnership was announced about two weeks after Discover acquired indie video producer Revision3 for a reported $30-$40 million. We’ll probably see more deals like this as time goes on.