Turner leads $45 million funding round in Refinery29

The move will see the digital media company bring original content to Turner's linear networks. (Pictured: Turner president David Levy)
August 12, 2016

Media company Turner has led a US$45-million funding round in online women’s lifestyle company Refinery29.

The investment will see Refinery29 create original content for Turner to distribute across the company’s linear networks.

For Turner, it’s an opportunity to gain the attention of Refinery’s core demographic of millennial women. The digital company’s main website claims a monthly reach of more than 27 million unique visitors and 225 million users across all other platforms. It launched its R29 Originals division in April 2015, and video views have increased 19 times since then, according to the company.

Furthermore, Refinery29 claims 37% of its traffic comes from users who visit the site nine times or more per month.

For Refinery, the partnership is not only a means to ramp up video production and add new formats, but it’s also a way to increase visibility and generate more ad revenue by bringing its content to linear, according to a company media statement.

The business model is similar to the strategy aggressively employed by Vice. Over the past year, the millennial brand has partnered with A+E in the U.S., Rogers Media in Canada, Sky in the U.K. and Canal Plus in France to bring its linear channel, Viceland, to assorted international territories. It has since announced expansion plans to more than 50 new countries, and launched an unconventional ad model, promoting native advertising produced through an in-house content studio designed to complement its programming.

Refinery will also use the funding to expand on its international operations, the company stated. It has already expanded its reach into the U.K. and France.

Scripps Networks Interactive also participated in the funding round, according to a release announcing Turner’s investment.

“In order to achieve success in today’s quickly evolving digital environment, we believe in partnering with brands that have distinct voices and loyal, engaged audiences,” said​ David Levy (pictured), president of Turner, in a statement. “Refinery29 certainly fits the bill, bringing with it a highly coveted following of millennial-minded women, strong capabilities in digital products, event marketing and content creation, as well as an attractive advertiser base.”

Turner has made a number of major investments in the digital space lately. Earlier this year, it invested in Mashable, leading a $115 million funding round for the digital news site. It also acquired a majority stake in iStreamPlanet in 2015, and has invested in its own digital properties such as millennial sports site Bleacher Report and CNN Digital.

Christina Miller, president and GM of Turner-owned Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, will now sit on Refinery29′s board of directors.

(From Stream Daily, with files from Barry Walsh)

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.