San Francisco-based SAY Media, which is backed by investors including August Capital, First Round Capital, Focus Ventures and Maveron, has acquired digital agency Sideshow. Financial terms of the deal were not released. Sideshow was launched in 1999.
SAY Media today announced its acquisition of Sideshow, a leading digital agency with expertise in building next generation media properties and innovative brand experiences, to help the company achieve its goal of making passion-media work for advertisers and consumers. The Sideshow team will join SAY’s Media Lab, a cross-discipline creative and technical group dedicated to exploring new products and experiences for the company’s network of owned and operated media properties, and to share those findings with the industry.
“The media industry is at a crossroads. Publishers are concerned they aren’t making enough money and advertisers and consumers want better content experiences,” said Troy Young, president, SAY Media. “Sideshow’s expertise in building digital experiences for some of the world’s best known brands will be integral as we develop new ways for people to create, consume and monetize content across digital platforms.”
The Media Lab will be developing next generation publishing experiences like the one SAY recently created for xoJane.com, a new kind of women’s interest site targeting independent, opinionated and passionate women. A collaboration with Jane Pratt, former editor-in-chief of Sassy and Jane magazines, xoJane.com is the company’s first owned and operated media property it has built from the ground up.
“Working with SAY on xoJane.com was an amazing experience. The expertise they brought to the table in terms of site design and creating new ways for our readers to interact and engage with content is unparalleled,” said Jane Pratt, editor-in-chief of xoJane.com and creative director, style for SAY Media.
The unique design and functionality of xoJane.com is delivering an average of six minute session times per user. This deep engagement is in large part due to the site’s cross-promotion of relevant content, intuitive user experiences and faster load times. Its superior usability also enables xoJane’s team of editors to create rich content experiences, easily.
In addition to its design and development work on xoJane.com, SAY is focused on creating more engaging and intuitive content and advertising experiences for the recently acquired Dogster, Inc., as well as the company’s expansive network of partner sites. SAY Media will also introduce new thinking and functionality to its current suite of ad products designed to deliver engagement for the world’s leadings brands, including Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, HP, Starbucks and Adidas.
“SAY is committed to solving the monetization and experience challenges currently facing the vertical media ecosystem,” said Alex Schleifer, general manager of SAY’s Media Lab. “We’re excited to help SAY achieve this goal by developing new media properties, revenue models, content channels and user experiences that will make passion-media work for the industry.”
Launched as one of the few purely digitally focused agencies in 1999, Sideshow has helped both technology start-ups and household brands do great things on the web, mobile and social networks. The team’s expertise in R&D, development and marketing for top brands, including Microsoft, FOX and Royal Bank of Scotland, will strengthen the SAY Media’s ability to build, improve and/or manage new media properties, brand experiences, content management systems, and social and mobile applications.
About SAY Media
SAY Media is a global media company that helps passionate, independent content creators publish, build an audience, and earn a living. The company delivers publishing technology and media services to influential creators and passion-based communities across key consumer interest areas such as family, sports, entertainment and technology. With expertise in social publishing, distribution and authentic digital marketing, SAY Media enables today’s leading online voices and top consumer brands engage with more than 400 million people around the world. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices across North America, in the UK and Australia.