Woven Digital Raises $18.5M From WPP Ventures To Bring ‘TV-Quality Content’ For Guys To The Web

ColinAnother day, another digital media investment.

This time, it’s Woven Digital – parent publisher to guy-oriented properties BroBible, Uproxx and HitFix. The company raised $18.5 million from WPP Ventures, money it will use to expand video production and content around verticals like sports, tech and gaming.

Woven Digital got its start six years ago as an ad network, and more recently pivoted into entertainment and media. Current CEO Colin Digiaro was a co-founder of MySpace. He joined Woven two years ago as president.

The company sees about 30 million monthly uniques across its portfolio, according to comScore. Digiaro said Google Analytics puts the number closer to 50 million.

Woven’s sites were long entrenched in programmatic, but between its first digital NewFront event this spring and a growing emphasis on original video, sponsorships and brand integrations are also taking precedent.

“We’re seeing with big brands that programmatic definitely has its place, but you can't science away contextual, and that means high-quality TV or broadcast-like content,” Digiaro told AdExchanger. “We already work with most agencies and a lot of brands, but WPP is the largest spender of digital ad dollars in the world and this gives us a closer relationship to partner with brands on content.”

Woven uses DoubleClick for Publishers as its ad server and a third-party video player. It has a proprietary CMS called Thread, which Woven’s properties use to tap into trending topics and inform content production. Thread also offers a central repository of data, which Uproxx and others use to measure how video and articles performed.

“Over the last year and a half we've built out the infrastructure to run as a next-gen digital publisher,” Digiaro said. “We’ve built technology to unify it all, and have the support of a video team and 38 editors that cover pop culture news with a male-leaning skew.”

Woven views social platforms as key distribution channels, but they are not its primary focus.

Facebook certainly helped popularize BroBible, in particular. (And editors have spurred social referrals with headlines like “J.J. Watts’ Ridiculous, 5,000-Calorie Per Day Diet Helps Explain Why He’s Such A Freakin’ Beast.”)

But the goal is always to drive traffic back to owned-and-operated sites and apps for direct monetization.

Woven recently hired former Popsugar brand partnerships head Eileen Carty as the company’s first chief revenue officer as it considers more content licensing agreements with traditional and digital media partners.

To support its internally sourced content, the company already has a team of 16 and a head producer hailing from Hollywood.

 

 

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