Amid massive upheaval in the media business from declining print advertising to less engaged young cable viewers, corporations across the U.S. media landscape from Conde Nast to Time Warner are pursuing venture investments in the tech industry more aggressively than ever before.
Since 2010, eight U.S.-based media corporations (list below) have participated in 161 deals totaling over $2 billion in disclosed funding. In 2013 year-to-date, deal activity with participation from media corporates has already reached a new high watermark, while funding is on pace to eclipse 2012 levels at its current run rate.
While all but two of the media corporations analyzed are headquartered in New York, 43% of their deals went to companies based in California. NY took 30% of investments since 2010 including a handful of emerging “fat content” hubs such as Bustle, Buzzfeed and Vox Media. Massachusetts-based companies grabbed 8% of deals, while Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington DC also saw a couple deals by media corporates.
Looking at investments by stage reveals that the mid stage (Series B & Series C) have taken 40% of corporate media deals since 2010. Seed and Series A deals combined to take just over 35% of all deals in the period, while just 7% of corporate media deals came at the Series E+ stage. Among the mid-stage investments made by media corporates in 2013 to date include Hearst Ventures-backed Relationship Science and video shopping startup Joyus, backed by Time Warner Investments.
As media audiences go digital, media corporates are, not surprisingly, putting their investment dollars into the Internet sector, which has taken over 70% of deal share in 2013 YTD and two of the past three years. After taking 34% of corporate media deal share in 2011, the mobile sector has seen a smaller share of deals in 2012 and 2013 to date which is a bit counter to general the current VC zeitgeist for all things mobile.
The media corporations and corporate venture arms analyzed for this research brief are detailed below. All of the underlying company & investor data can be found on the CB Insights venture capital database.
- AOL/AOL Ventures
- Advance Publications/Conde Nast
- Comcast/Comcast Ventures
- Gannett Company
- Hearst/Hearst Ventures
- News Corp.
- The New York Times Company
- Time Warner/Time Warner Investments