Hearst Invests $21 Million in Pop Culture Site Complex

Courtesy of Complex

Founded as a magazine in 2002, Complex now reaches 57 million men across its collection of websites.

Hearst has invested $21 million in Complex for a minority stake in the male-centric digital media company, in the latest instance of big media taking note of fast-growing online brands. 

Complex began as a print publication in 2002 and has since expanded into a multiple websites that now collectively reach 57 million millennial men each month while still publishing six times a year. The widely discussed Aug./Sept. issue featured Khloe Kardashian on the cover. 

"Hearst continues to invest in fast-growing digital media and streaming video companies," said Hearst Digital Studios president Neeraj Khemlani. "The Complex team drives explosive engagement through smart, hip content that features exclusives from some of the top music and popular culture stars of our time." 

Led by Khemlani, Hearst has made video an increasingly important component among its editorial brands. The company acquired a 25 percent stake in DreamWorks Animation's AwesomenessTV earlier this year. Its latest deal with Complex will also surely include a video component. The digital media company over the last two years has placed an emphasis on video, appointing Spike Lee as an advisor to develop formats for branded content that could help bridge digital and traditional. 

"This is an important investment for us, and one we view as a crucial strategic play," said Complex CEO Rich Antoniello. "As we look toward further expansion in digital and linear entertainment, Complex will have access to the extensive expertise, scale and partnerships that only a global media company like Hearst could offer."