Turner Invests $45 Million in Refinery29, Expanding Its Digital Reach

TV-centric company will target millennial women

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Turner continues looking outside the TV box for new investments in original video content. The Time Warner company is leading a $45 million funding round in Refinery29, the digital media company focused on millennial women.

Much as it did with its investment earlier this year in Mashable, Turner plans to use its own content development, data, ad sales and technology to enhance Refinery29's reach.

"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 in a statement. "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." 

Refinery29, which boasts a multi-platform reach of more than 225 million users, launched in 2005 as a fashion-focused guide for New York City. It now also has offices in London and Berlin. In April 2015, the company launched R29 Originals, a series of short- and long-form scripted documentary and tutorial videos.

"We are excited to collaborate with the Turner team to expand Refinery29 into new territories, expand and develop our leading voice in video content for women, as well as integrate into some of Turner's most exciting franchises and platforms," said co-founders and co-CEOs Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano in a statement. 

Scripps Networks Interactive is also participating in the investment. Christina Miller, president and general manager of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, will take a seat on Refinery29's board.

This funding follows previous investments in Refinery29 from WPP, Stripes Group, First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures, Hearst Corporation and others.
For Turner, today's investment follows the expansion of digital-first entities including sports site Bleacher Report, and Great Big Story, a digital storytelling initiative within CNN.

@ChrisAriens chris.ariens@adweek.com Chris Ariens is the managing editor and director of video at Adweek.