Mic has raised $21 million in new funding, which co-founder and CEO Chris Altchek said will accelerate the digital publisher’s investment in video news.
The company says it currently reaches 66 million unique readers and viewers each month, and that 75 percent of its daily views come from video — particularly impressive when you consider that it launched its first video series barely two years ago. Last week, Mic announced that it’s launching nine new content channels covering topics like women’s issues and pop culture.
The Series C brings Mic’s total funding to $52 million. It was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners (which also led Mic’s Series B), with participation from Time Warner Investments, kyu Collective and You & Mr. Jones. Allison Goldberg, Time Warner Investment’s global managing director and senior vice president, is joining Mic’s board of directors.
Mic’s funding might not have reached the heights of digital media companies like BuzzFeed, Vox and Vice, which raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the last few years, but Altchek noted that those competitors were all founded more than a decade ago, while Mic (which was originally known as PolicyMic) only got started in 2011.
“We’ve really quickly and capital efficiently built up an audience that’s bigger than almost anybody else in news,” he said.
The funding release says Mic will use the funding to “aggressively expand its premium video offerings for live and [subscription video on demand] distributors.” Asked if the Time Warner investment means that we’ll see Mic creating programs for traditional TV, Altchek said, “I wouldn’t necessarily call it traditional, but more like the future of cable.”
He added that the investment from agencies kyu Collective and You & Mr. Jones will help Mic’s advertising business, which supposedly tripled revenue year-over-year.
“We’ve seen three quarters of advertisers who bought with Mic come back,” Altchek said. “The deal sizes continue to get bigger and bigger … So we believe that there’s huge runway on the advertising side, and we’re just starting to scratch the surface.”
He also argued that because of its focus on a millennial audience, Mic is able to cut across the left-right political and news divide that seems to be intensified by social media. For example, he said Mic was one of the first publications to devote significant coverage to Bernie Sanders’ candidacy, which attracted supporters from across the political spectrum.
“I think it’s really important for Mic remain committed to doing journalism that’s fair, and not worry about the traditional ways that newsrooms may be biased left or right,” he said.
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