21st Century Fox led an $8 million investment in theSkimm, owner of the popular newsletter Daily Skimm, providing funds that the company will use to create a studio for the production of original videos.
Joining Fox in the funding round are existing investors RRE Ventures, Greycroft Partners and Homebrew, according to a statement from the companies Wednesday.
Fox saw an opportunity to invest early in an emerging media enterprise, putting the company in line to reap the benefits if theSkimm grows into a much larger business. Fox has recently invested in FuboTV, an sports video startup and ODG, an augmented reality company. It also has a 5% stake in Vice Media.
More than 3.5 million people subscribe to Daily Skimm, a newsletter that offers readers a quick way to stay on top of world affairs and pop culture, according to the statement. Tuesday's issue included an update on U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, the NBA playoffs and an incident at the Cincinnati Zoo. Subscribers pay $2.99 a month for SkimmAhead, which updates their calendars with relevant world events.
Co-founders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin are pushing beyond the newsletter, creating new subscription products and videos that can generate additional sales from their young, mostly female audience. SkimmStudios, as the in-house studio will be called, will begin producing short-form videos by the end of the year, they said.
Online publishers like Buzzfeed, Mashable and Vox have already made the move into video, eager to take advantage of higher advertising rates. All of them would like to produce video for television as well, as Vice Media does.
Fox owns TV outlets including the Fox broadcast network, FX and Fox News.
"We used the newsletter to create this large community of scale, telling them what they need to know," Ms. Weisberg said in an interview. "For the first three years, that's where we focused, becoming the fastest growing email newsletter on the market. Now we can leverage the newsletter to roll the audience into other products and different revenue streams they enjoy."
Ms. Weisberg and Ms. Zakin said meetings over the years with Fox Chief Executive Officer James Murdoch and Fox advertising executive Joe Marchese led to a business relationship.
-- Bloomberg News