Turner Leads $45 Million Investment in Refinery29

THR David Levy - H 2015
Adam Amengual

THR David Levy - H 2015

The female lifestyle brand also counts Scripps Networks Interactive and Hearst Corp. as investors.

As the video boom among digital publishers continues, Refinery29 plans to give its efforts a boost by aligning itself with Turner, an entertainment firm that knows a bit about how to make money from content creation. 

The digital women's lifestyle brand on Thursday announced that it has raised $50 million from a group of investors led by Turner, which has also agreed to work together with Refinery29 to develop and create content. The deal will see the companies blend Turner's programming and Refinery29's female, millennial audience and will also include an ad sales partnership. Christina Miller, president and general manager of Turner networks Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, will join the R29 board.

This is the latest in a string of digital-focused deals from Turner, including an investment in Mashable, acquisition of iStreamPlanet and the launch of short-form video brand Super Deluxe. "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 Turner president David Levy. "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."

First reported in July, the funding, which includes participation from existing investor Scripps Networks Interactive, comes a little more than a year after R29 raised $50 million. Since then, the publisher's audience has grown to 27 million unique visitors and 225 million users across all platforms.

Last year it placed an emphasis on video production, with the launch of R29 Originals that includes a number of short-form digital projects

"It's been an incredible year of growth for Refinery29, expanding our mission to put women at the center of every conversation and lead a new, powerful representation of women in media and advertising," co-founders and co-CEOs Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano said in a statement. "We are thrilled to bring Turner on board as a key strategic partner. Turner's portfolio consists of many of the world's strongest media properties, and it is a true leader in global content creation."

Refinery29, which also counts Hearst Corp. and WPP as investors, joins a growing number of digital publishers that have tied themselves to large media conglomerates. Last year, NBCUniversal invested $200 million in both Vox and BuzzFeed, and Disney backed Vice with $400 million.