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Online Publishers turning profits?

Online Publishers turning profits?
September 23 2020

Digital publishing is experiencing a big milestone: it is doing something it hasn't done en masse since the dawn of the Internet: make money. 

Many publishers are household names but have been in financially precarious positions for long. Now many turned a profit in 2019, and more are expecting to do so this year. 

A global wave of new copyright laws means that platforms are likely to have to start paying publishers for the right to carry their content. Most notably, Facebook is paying select publishers up to multi-million dollars annually to distribute their content. Platforms like Apple, Twitter, and Snapchat give publishers a cut of the ad revenue they make or sell off their content.

Increased demand for creators and creativity to produce podcasts and TV shows for the new streaming platforms. Last year saw record demand for television original series. Demand for podcast and audio content is also leading to a record number of digital companies to partner with podcast studios and distributors to create audio content like flash briefings and skills.

Retail partnerships and referral links of products have brought in significant revenues as well. The growth of big, murky online marketplaces in retail is forcing consumers to turn to trusted publishers for commerce recommendations and guidance, creating a new revenue stream for publishers.

These success stories have begun to allay investor concerns. Venture investors known for expecting quick returns tell Axios that they are beginning to take a longer view of their investments in publishers that have more sustainable business models, like subscriptions.

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Media Companies Expected to Turn a Profit in 2020:

BuzzFeed, Inc. is an American Internet media, news and entertainment company with a focus on digital media; it is based in New York City. BuzzFeed was founded in 2006 by Jonah Peretti and John S. Johnson III, to focus on tracking viral content.  BuzzFeed News had won the National Magazine Award and the George Polk Award, and been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Michael Kelly Award. 

Vice is a Canadian-American magazine focused on lifestyle, arts, culture, and news/politics. Founded in 1994 in Montreal as an alternative punk magazine, the founders later launched the youth media company Vice Media, which consists of divisions including the printed magazine as well as a website, broadcast news unit, a film production company, a record label, and a publishing imprint. As of February 2018, the magazine's editor-in-chief is Ellis Jones.

Vox is an American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media. The website was founded in April 2014 by Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, and Melissa Bell, and is noted for its concept of explanatory journalism. Vox's media presence also includes a YouTube channel, several podcasts, and a show presented on Netflix.

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Tesla's Battery Day event
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Since last week, PrivCo has added:
9080 Companies | 236 Funding Activities | 66 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Finch Therapeutics Group, a clinical-stage microbiome drug development company, announced today a $90 million Series D financing. New investors in the round include Baupost Group, Humboldt Fund, MSD Capital, MSD Partners, Octave Group, and OMX Ventures, along with support from existing investors, including Avenir Growth Capital, OCV Partners, Shumway Capital, SIG, SymBiosis, TPTF, and Willett Advisors.

Cardea Bio has announced the first closing in their A2 financing round. Cardea Bio, who is integrating tiny bits of biology into modern electronics, via their Graphene-based Biology-gated Transistors, just announced the first closing in their A2 financing round. The capital will help accelerate the growth and development of the Company's proprietary Tech+Bio Infrastructure and chipsets that enable Cardea's Innovation Partners to bring "Powered by Cardea" products to market with features and competitive advantages never seen before.

Tonal, the world's most advanced strength and personal training platform that combines proprietary digital weight, artificial intelligence, and expert-led coaching, today announced $110M in new capital, further establishing itself as the clear leader in connected strength training. This round is funded by leading growth-stage investors, including the Growth  Fund of returning investor L Catterton, the largest and most global consumer-focused private equity firm.

Palleon Pharmaceuticals, a company pioneering the field of glycan-mediated immune regulation to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases, today announced the completion of a $100 million Series B financing led by Matrix Capital Management, with participation from Series A investors SR One, Pfizer Ventures, Vertex Ventures HC, Takeda Ventures, and AbbVie Ventures, as well as new investor Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company).

Synthekine, an engineered cytokine therapeutics company, today announced the closing of an $82 million Series A financing. The financing was co-led by Canaan Partners, Samsara BioCapital and The Column Group, with participation from other undisclosed investors. Synthekine was founded by K. Christopher Garcia, Ph.D., to leverage discoveries showing that cytokines can be tuned to enhance their therapeutic effects.

Humatics, the leader in microlocation technology, has secured $30 million in Series B funding to scale its submillimeter Milo Microlocation System and increase its footprint in the transit industry with its proprietary Rail Navigation System, among other investments, company leadership announced today.

Affirm, a more flexible and transparent alternative to credit cards, today announced a $500 million series G round of funding. The funding round was led by GIC, a returning investor, and Durable Capital Partners LP.  Affirm has raised over $1.3 billion from investors to date.

Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Zywave, Inc., the leading software-as-a-service ("SaaS") provider of front office insurance solutions, from Aurora Capital Partners. The Company will continue to be led by Jason Liu, Chief Executive Officer, and the current management team, who are investing alongside Clearlake in the transaction. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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