Scripps, an Old Name in News, Is the New Owner of Online's Newsy.com
E.W.Scripps, the old-line newspaper publisher and TV station owner, today said it has acquired Newsy.com, a news Website that operates out of Columbia, Mo., for $35 million cash.
Newsy had acquired less than $5 million in funding up to this point, so it seemed to be a substantial payday.
The acquisition marks Scripps most dramatic move to position itself differently among the old news brokers. Newsy will be a fully-owned subsidiary that gives Scripps a new way to circulate content, but Adam Sympson, Scripps senior vice president and chief digital officer says Newsy will remain a distinct, stand-alone product.
“A lot of places get absorbed and lose their uniqueness. That’s not going to happen here. We think this is a great, emerging, stand-alone brand. Video is the only medium that reaches across all four platforms—mobile, tablet, laptop and television. ”
To announce the deal, Newsy produced a YouTube video, perhaps a way to note that difference from other assets among Cincinnati-based media company’s core units. Scripps operates 19 TV stations, many in the Midwest and Florida, and 13 daily papers. Scripps spun off its cable units , HGTV and the Food Network, into a separate company in 2007.
Newsy produces and curates video news reports for Web, mobile and connected TV devices and has deals with Microsoft, Mashable, and AOL/Huffington Post, earning income from those content deals and from advertising.
Across all those platforms Newsy has about 100 million unique users a month, Sympson said.
“We’re a digitally focused multi-sourced platform for content,” said Jim Spencer, the founder and CEO, a graduate of the University of Missouri, which has one of the top journalism programs in the country. The school is a partner with Newsy and had shares in the company provided shortly after Newsy started. The school obviously has a close relationship and will profit from the sale; Asked how many of Newsy’s 35 staffers staff were Missouri graduates, he replied, “About 33.”
“Newsy adds an important dimension to our video news strategy. It's a next generation news network designed and built exclusively for digital audiences," said Rich Boehne, Scripps chairman, president and CEO, in a statement. "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.”
Being located in a college town helps Newsy stay fresh--and protect the bottom line, though Spencer, who will stay on, was careful not to put in those words. “Being here means we’re fast, flexible and economically viable,” he said.
Spencer said just how Newsy will be integrated into Scripps wasn’t totally finalized. Symson said Scripps stations have their owd digital plans and pointed to bold new plans for the Website operated by Scripps’ WCPO in Cincinnati. But Spencer said Scripps stations’ material will no doubt begin showing up on Newsy when it makes sense, and vice versa. “That wouldn’t be too far off of a guess,” Spencer said.