Digiday: Minute Media expects to churn out more than $100m in revenue in 2020

By Max Willens

The following is an article that originally appeared on Digiday.

Minute Media expects its newest acquisition will help it fuel a profitable year and achieve revenue exceeding $100 million.

On Friday the venture-backed sports media company announced it had acquired FanSided from Meredith for an undisclosed price. The acquisition is Minute Media’s third in the past 15 months. In June the company drew an investment infusion of $40 million that was meant to fund purchases. Minute Media purchased Mental Floss in 2018, The Big Lead in March 2019 and The Players Tribune last fall.

Achieving cost-effective distribution for its titles across different markets has been a key part of Minute Media’s strategy; it publishes content in 13 different languages around the world and has managed to rack up a large number of short video views. In November Minute Media attracted 615,000 minutes of watch time for 1.2 billion views of videos, according to Comscore data.

The company’s president, Rich Routman, said about 70% of the company’s revenue is derived from advertising, with much of it being from video ads. The remainder is revenue accrued from various business services, including licensing its technology to other publishers. Minute Media also runsThe Duel, a content site owned by the daily fantasy site FanDuel.

The addition of FanSided to Minute Media’s portfolio could bolster its branded content distribution capabilities as well. Last fall the company’s founder and CEO, Asaf Peled, said shortly after announcement of the Players Tribune acquisition that he expects to grow that site’s revenues more than 50% over the next year.

“If you want to be a real player in digital media, you don’t only have to have great content; you have to have great distribution,” Routman said. “The days of relying on Facebook to distribute your campaigns are over. The more distribution publishers can own, the more [they] can do.”

Minute Media’s focus on advertising comes at a time when many sports media companies are trying to diversify their revenue in areas beyond video and display advertising. The Ringer, for example, generates most of its revenue from podcast ads, while The Athletic (which recently raised $50 million) focuses largely on subscription revenue. Other sports media publications, including Vox Media’s SB Nation, WarnerMedia’s Bleacher Report and Barstool Sports, are trying to find ways to work closely with betting operators to capitalize on legalized sports betting.

By acquiring FanSided, Minute Media gains the ability to target fans of specific teams. Such audiences would complement those for the Players Tribune (focused on specific athletes) as well as for The Big Lead, which covers leagues as a whole in addition to sports media. That flexibility could help Minute Media navigate key problems that sports media companies are facing right now.

Marketers that might have once partnered with leagues or large sports media companies  can now can go straight to the stars themselves, said Keith Hernandez, a partner in the business consultancy Launch Angle and a former svp of revenue for Bleacher Report.

But ultimately the biggest question about Minute Minute’s prospects may rest in how effectively it can integrate its growing portfolio of sites.

“It seems like they have an open checkbook right now,”said Neeta Sreekanth, COO at sports content management app company INFLCR. “The question is, What’s next on their list?”

An earlier version of this story said Minute Media’s videos have gotten 615 minutes of watch time, rather than 615 million minutes.