Hearst Interactive Media Posts

BuzzFeed Raises $19.3 Million In Series D Funding

BuzzFeed is a content website that writes all sorts of interesting articles.  It does not matter if the article is about “50 Puppies To Help You Get Through Work Today” or “The Best Mr. T GIF Ever.”  If the content has a chance of going viral, BuzzFeed will try to put it out there.  The company has just raised $19.3 million in funding.  BuzzFeed plans on hiring more employees and to expand their presence on mobile phones.  BuzzFeed has raised a total of around $47 million.

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Hearst Has Around 800,000 Digital Subscribers Across Content Network

Hearst Corporation, the parent company of publications like Car & Driver, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Car & Driver, claims to have around 800,000 paying digital subscribers.  These numbers were announced in a letter to employees at the company by Hearst President David Carey.  This figure includes monthly subscribers across all of their titles on iPads, Nooks, Androids, etc.  Mr. Carey claims that this figure is “the highest in the industry.”

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Social TV Company Miso Raises $4 Million From Khosla, Google, and Hearst

Miso is a social TV company that has raised $4 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures, and Hearst Interactive Media. Now Miso has raised a total of $6 million. When Miso first launched, they were a “check-in” app for TV shows.
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Online Restaurant Reservation Company VillageVines Raises $3 Million

VillageVines is a restaurant reservations company that has raised $3 million in funding. VillageVines also offers discounts at restaurants in NYC, San Francisco, L.A., and other cities across the U.S. Hearst Interactive Media led the round of funding while GrandBanks Capital and High Peaks Venture Partners participated. VillageVines plays on using the funding to scale their operations and increase staff. The company has made over half a million dollars in sales for their restaurant partners in December 2010. [TechCrunch]

First30Days Helps Itself To $5 Million To Provide Self-Help Content

First30Days Logo
Making lifestyle decisions can be difficult sometimes.  On the homepage of the First30Days, the changes that the site asks whether you have made includes Finding Romance, Finding Your Dream Job, Going Green, Living Healthier, Being Pregnant, and Having More Money.  In First30Days’ case, they would need to embrace change for Having More Money since they raised $5 million from angel investors and Hearst Interactive Media.

The site contains articles, not How-To guides which is unique for a self-help site.  Interviews on the site include Steve “Woz” Wozniak and George Foreman.  Ariane de Bonvoisin, former MD of Time Warner Digital Media Venture Fund started First30Days and is currently the CEO.  The management team is pretty large, at about 17 board members.

“Change is certainly the buzz word so far in 2008, but it’s so much more than just the focus of the election. It’s the one thing guaranteed in life. The mission of our company and what our team has been passionately building is a place that makes any change easier—be it big, small, personal, professional, social, or even global. The launch of First30Days.com is the first big step toward achieving this goal,” stated Bonvoisin.

First30Days is based in the Flatiron district of New York City.

New Digital Entertainment Site, Worldwide Biggies Raises $9 Million Series A

Worldwide Biggies LogoWorldwide Biggies is a new digital entertainment website that was started by Albie Hecht. Hecht is best known for his work on Spike TV and Nickelodeon. For example, he produced shows like Clarissa Explains It All, Rugrats, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, etc.   Hecht also oversaw SpongeBob SquarePants and Blue’s Clues.  Now Hecht is making a comeback full force and has raised $9 million in Series A from NBC Universal, Platform Equity, Greycroft Partners, Hearst Corporation, and Prism Ventures.

“The production studio creates content that’s directed for a multi-platform distribution model, offering content to be streamed online, on mobile phones, television, film, and consumer products. Covering all its bases, Worldwide Biggies is looking to attract the entire gamut of advertisers, regardless of what type of campaign medium they’d like to try their hand for[1],” wrote Kristen Nicole of Mashable.

Worldwide Biggies is based in New York and has also struck a deal with TMZ.com.  From what I understand, TMZ, is working with Worldwide Biggies to create a website called StarVsStar, a fantasy betting-like league for celebrity controversies.

Worldwide Biggies was started in 2005 and the funding that the company received seems to be consistent with other recent funded-comedy website launches like FunnyOrDie and NationalBanana.

[1] Mashable: Worldwide Biggies Funded by NBC and Hearst
[2] Red Herring: NBC Funds Worldwide Biggies

Adobe Systems Inc. Now Owns Scene7

Adobe & Scene7 LogosYesterday, Adobe Systems Inc. announced that they have acquired Scene7.  Adobe Systems Inc. is based in San Jose, Calif. and Scene7 is based in Novato, Calif.  The financial details were not disclosed, but Scene7 makes a great addition to Adobe’s current offerings.  Adobe completed a buy-out of Macromedia for $3.4 billion in 2005.

The Scene7 acquisition will be completed by the end of this month.  A majority of Scene7 employees will join the Adobe family.  Scene7 was previoulsy invested into by venture capital firms: Moore Capital Management, Hearst Interactive Media, Weston Presidio, and several others.

Scene7 creates software to enable companies to have rich media content on their websites.  “It took one day to implement, one day to customize, and one day to start seeing the ROI. There are very few other technologies that can make this claim and keep it,” stated Craig Davidson, a controller at PUMA in regards to Scene7 software.  Amazon.com uses Scene7 software for their Home section catalogs.

“Scene7 has done a great job developing a sophisticated system that underpins the online delivery of high-fidelity imagery and dynamic assets,” stated John Loiacono, a senior VP of Creative Solutions at Adobe. “This acquisition will help Adobe build out a robust Internet infrastructure, allowing us to further develop Scene7’s brand-name customer list and accelerate the online availability of technologies relied on by millions of creatives worldwide.”
[source: official press release]