L’industria dei media è uno dei principali settori travolti dall’ondata tecnologica. I contenuti digitali e i social network hanno completamente trasformato i modelli di costo e di distribuzione. Le grandi società stanno competendo sempre più, scommettendo sulle migliori nuove realtà tech, comprando o fondando start-up. Uno studio di Cb Insights ha identificato le tredici media company più attive negli ultimi anni, focalizzandosi anche sull’analisi dei trend di investimento, in decisa crescita.
La classifica delle prime tredici:
1.The New York Times
2.The Washington Post
3.Hearst Corporation/Hearst Ventures
4.Bertelsmann/Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments
5.Axel Springer/Axel Springer Digital Ventures
6.Time Warner/Time Warner Ventures
8.The Walt Disney Company/Disney Accelerator
12.Sky TV and Broadband
Big Media Investment Trends
Some interesting data points emerge when we look at the visualization above, created with CB Insights’ Business Social Graph, which shows how top investors and target companies in any industry are interrelated. (Blue lines are investments, while red lines are acquisitions.)
1. Disney, The New York Times, and Axel Springer (and others) have created accelerators for media and entertainment companies. Disney has followed up with additional funding for two of these companies, including Sphero, the spherical robot company that is featured in the new Star Wars movie, “The Force Awakens” and is on sale at retail stores. The New York Times has also made significant investments through its accelerator, TimeSpace, such as funding unicorn Automattic and micropayments-startup Blendle. Axel Springer’s Plug and Play Accelerator has had seven batches so far. Comcast has teamed up with several accelerators to provide resources (DreamIt, Boomtown, etc.). Media companies are trying to find ways to identify budding companies early, in order to invest in them or strike up partnerships, and these accelerators have given them a pipeline of startups for possible follow-ons.
2. Most of these companies seem to be trying to find some way to connect with younger audiences, by investing in companies attuned to their media habits. Examples include:
Disney acquiring Maker Studios
AOL acquiring Kanvas Labs
NBC investing in Buzzfeed and Vox Media
Comcast investing in Vox Media
Hearst investing in Refinery29 and Buzzfeed
Washington Post acquiring Digg
Axel Springer investing in Business Insider and OZY Media, as well as acquiring TunedIn Media
BskyB investing in Kids Sports Entertainment
3. A handful of these media giants are also investing in companies that aggregate social media analytics to profile and target specific audiences, including Keywee and TrackMaven.
4. A few investments have also been made into the virtual reality space: Comcast invested in AltspaceVR‘s Series A. Sky has participated in all of Jaunt’s rounds.
5. Several startups have multiple media investors, showing how much overlap there is in big media’s bets on the future. Notable companies with more than one big media investor include BuzzFeed (Hearst and NBCUniversal), Roku (Hearst, NewsCorp, Sky), and Fanduel (Time Warner, Comcast Ventures, and NBCUniversal).
In general, the activity of large media increased steadily between 2010 and 2014. Last year saw a multi-year high of more than 120 investments and acquisitions, though 2015 has slowed slightly. AOL has made the most acquisitions during this time, with more than 20 since 2010.
Big Media Corporate Venture Capital
Below is a look at the same Business Social Graph shown above, but zeroing in only on corporate venture capital arms (as opposed to investments made directly out of the parent corporation):
When we drill down into the media companies’ established corporate venture arms, we spot clear differences in terms of the investment strategies that distinguish these vehicles:
1. Some media CVC arms are media-focused while a few are eclectic. While the corporate venture capital arms of AOL, Bertelsmann, Verizon, and Time Warner all tend to invest in companies related to their core areas of focus (content production, distribution, analytics, monetization, etc.), Comcast and Hearst seem to invest in high growth companies regardless of sector:
Hearst Ventures has made significant plays in the healthcare space, investing in Tonic Solutions and WellTok; Hearst Corporation has acquired Homecare Homebase and CareInSync. (Hearst Corp. announced the formation of a new division, Hearst Health in early 2014.)
Comcast Ventures is the most active among the 13 investors on our list, with investments in more than 60 companies since 2013, including 7 unicorns.
2. There have only been 2 deals with multiple media corporate VCs involved, one into Fanduel and the other into Epoxy.The big media CVC tendency to invest according to idiosyncratic theses is illustrated by the relative lack of overlap in their investments.