Another exit for a new media startup into the arms of the old media industry: E.W. Scripps, the storied owner of 19 local television stations and daily newspapers in 13 markets across the U.S., today announced that it has acquired Newsy, a digital video news platform, for $35 million in cash. Newsy will become a subsidiary of Scripps.
To mark the video-friendly event, Newsy and Scripps posted a YouTube video.
The deal is expected to close January 1, Scripps said.
This represents a pretty impressive exit for Newsy, which was founded in 2008 and raised under $5 million. It also represents an interesting evolution for Scripps: back in 2007, in a moment of digital chicken that it lost, it spun off its Scripps Interactive division (full of hundreds of millions of dollars in acquired and homegrown assets) and remained E.W. Scripps the publishing company. Since then, it has quietly been building that digital effort back up, with more cautious footing.
This is about Scripps, which was founded in 1879, buying an asset that gives it a digital video component to complement its existing TV and online services — effectively a bridge between the three areas where it already does business if you also count newspapers.
It also gives the company access into an audience that consumes their news (and video) on devices like tablets, and has largely turned away from some of those more traditional platforms where Scripps still bases a majority of its business.
“Newsy adds an important dimension to our video news strategy,” Rich Boehne, Scripps chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. “It’s a next-generation news network designed and built exclusively for digital audiences. Newsy’s uncommon approach to curation and storytelling has helped it build a strong national brand, which fits well with both our current media assets and our ambitions to further develop digital media businesses.”
Newsy’s ad-supported videos are currently delivered to web, mobile, tablet and connected TV platforms, both direct to consumer and via partnerships with (TC’s owner) AOL, Microsoft and Mashable, among others.
The fact that these were named in the release might hint that those partnerships will continue post-acquisition, although this wasn’t specified. What has been is where the service will expand, which will be into more city- and region-based content: “Newsy will become an important news source on the Scripps digital products in local markets,” the company said.
“Scripps is committed to participating in the future of digital media,” said Adam Symson, senior vice president and chief digital officer for Scripps, in a statement. “Newsy is built for the digital audience, especially on the platforms we’re seeing emerge now with highly connected consumers.”
Newsy’s 35 full-time employees and its part-time employees will remain in Columbia, MO, the company says. That will include founder and CEO Jim Spencer. “We are proud to be joining with Scripps, which shares our values of innovation and editorial integrity,” he noted.