Scripps Snaps Up Cracked for $39M

Looking to expand its reach to millennial audiences, The E.W. Scripps Company said it has put up $39 million to acquire Cracked, the multiplatform satire specialist that operates a Web site, mobile apps, creates original digital video and a podcast.

Scripps, which is buying Cracked from Demand Media, noted that Cracked, an ad-supported offering, pulled in revenues of about $11 million in 2015, and that the business was profitable.

Cracked, launched in 1958 as a humor magazine, was acquired by Demand Media in 2007.  The Santa Monica, Calif.-based Cracked team will remain there and will be led by Mandy Ng Rusin, general manager and vice president, and Jack O’Brien, vice president and editor-in-chief.

The acquisition follows other OTT-facing and millennials-focused deals for Scripps, which last year bought podcast company Midroll Media and, in 2013, acquired Newsy, an online video news service that reaches several streaming platforms, such as Apple TV, Roku players, Amazon Fire TV devices, smart TVs from Samsung and LG, and is  also distributed by Sling TV, Pluto TV, and Watchable (Comcast’s new curated OTT service for mobile devices and its X1 set-top box platform)

“Cracked is the expert in using clever humor to engage a younger audience that is very loyal to its brand,” said Rich Boehne, chairman, president and CEO of Scripps, in a statement. “Its editorial vision brings a fresh perspective to the way the next generation creates and consumes news, information and entertainment.”

“Cracked is a natural extension of the Scripps strategy to take a leadership position in high-growth content marketplaces,” added Adam Symson, Scripps’s chief digital officer. “Scripps will help Cracked reach new and larger audiences as it continues to build its brand on the web, in over-the-top video and audio and on other emerging platforms.”