Whistle’s Acquisition Of Vertical Networks: Details About The Deal

By Dan Anderson ● October 9, 2019
  • Whistle announced it acquired a mobile-first content studio called Vertical Networks. These are the details about the deal.

Entertainment and sports media company Whistle recently announced it acquired Santa Monica-based Vertical Networks — which is a mobile-first content studio founded by Elisabeth Murdoch and is backed by Snap. This deal is expanding on Whistle’s investment in creating lifestyle video content around audience passion points.

Vertical Networks was Whistle’s second acquisition for the year following the purchase of LA-based studio New Form — which is leading to Discovery, ITV, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer became stockholders of Whistle. Some of Whistle’s other stockholders include Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo, NBC Sports, Sky Sports, Liberty Global, and TEGNA.

Through organic growth and acquisitions, the company is on track to more than double its revenue in 2019. Ever since Whistle launched in 2014, the company raised over $100 million from investors. Currently, Whistle has more than 12 shows on Snapchat, including two new Snap Originals programs called “Can’t Talk Now” and “Two Sides,” produced by New Form as well as programs like “No Days Off,” “Dunk League,” and “Whistle Worthy.” The Vertical Networks acquisition also illustrates Whistle’s continued investment in Snap-related business.


“There’s a natural synergy between Whistle and Vertical Networks, and we are excited to welcome aboard their team,” said Whistle president Michael Cohen. “We both have mobile-first in our DNA, we invest in data-backed IP creation, and we produce relatable content optimized by platform to engage today’s audiences through both short and longer formats.”

Vertical Networks is also known for the popular Snapchat show called “Phone Swap” (now in the 7th season) and the Snapchat Publisher Story Brother (20 million subscribers).

Going forward, Vertical Networks veteran Jordan Hill will be promoted to SVP and general manager and will report to Cohen. And New Form’s Kathleen Grace will work closely alongside Hill and Cohen to execute the Vertical Networks post-acquisition plan and consult on Brother’s programming strategy along with handling Whistle’s larger content slate.

After the integration period, Grace will focus on her executive producer endeavors including Snap Originals “Two Sides” and “Can’t Talk Now” along with Quibi’s untitled fashion documentary series and the sci-fi drama starring Don Cheadle, Emily Mortimer, and Helena Howard called “Don’t Look Deeper.”