E.W. Scripps Acquires Comedy Site Cracked for $39 Million

Courtesy of Scripps

Demand Media has owned Cracked since 2007.

E.W. Scripps is making a comedy play with the acquisition of humor website Cracked. 

Scripps paid $39 million to acquire Cracked from Demand Media, which has owned the Santa Monica-based digital media property since 2007. 

The acquisition helps the more than 100-year-old broadcasting company in its push for young, online audiences. Last year, it acquired podcasting company Midroll Media

"We're very focused on building out a new media business on the platforms where we see audiences migrating," says Scripps chief digital officer Adam Symson. He explains that Scripps will look to extend Cracked, which began as a humor magazine in 1958, into the over-the-top video space. 

"Cracked is a brand that's poised to be pushed into the OTT space," Symson continues. "They do already have a sizeable video business with 20 million video views a month through YouTube, and we're seizing upon some of that opportunity with Cracked." 

Cracked had a 2015 revenue of $11 million and was profitable, according to Scripps. The company will continue to operate out of Santa Monica and will be led by general manager Mandy Ng Rusin and editor-in-chief Jack O'Brien. 

Symson says that Cracked fits into Scripps largely news-based portfolio because humor, via The Daily Show and other satirical platforms, is the lens through which many young people consume news. "Cracked is smart and funny, " he adds. "It's not cheap. It's not looking to get you to just laugh, but to laugh and learn something."