Gannett closes majority investment in Grateful Ventures
Gannett Co., Inc., parent company of USA TODAY NETWORK, has closed a majority investment in Grateful Ventures, LLC, an online media and publishing company which focuses on building lifestyle content and monetization strategies for high-influence food and cooking websites and bloggers.
This investment will expand and diversify USA TODAY NETWORK's portfolio and audience, and significantly increase the number of Gannett's owned and operated digital sites. As a part of USA TODAY NETWORK, Grateful will launch in 2018 into several new personality-driven lifestyle categories with long-tail content, videos, live interactions, event integrations and passion topics to create deep, meaningful connections with readers across multiple platforms. These new initiatives with Grateful will increase USA TODAY NETWORK's advertising offerings through influencer marketing, branded content and events sponsorships with consumers who are deeply engaged.
"We are impressed by Grateful's vision to provide original, high-quality content in high-passion categories," said Maribel Perez Wadsworth, senior vice president and chief transformation officer. "Their focus on building relationships with influencers, who have an authentic voice and resulting strong following, is a winning formula. And we look forward sharing these premium content experiences with our existing viewers as well as appealing to new audiences."
The initial focus will continue with Grateful's vision in the food & cooking category. USA TODAY NETWORK, through its content, scale and promotion, will accelerate Grateful's build out of Thanksgiving.com as the top destination for all holiday-related food and cooking content, and drive growth in its blogging network, Food Blog Stars. Additionally, USA TODAY NETWORK and Grateful will further develop its social media platform created exclusively for food bloggers, FoodBlogs.com.
Founded in 2014, Grateful reaches an audience of approximately 8.5 million food enthusiasts each month. The founders, Kyle Cox, CEO, and Justin Rainbow, CTO, have extensive expertise in lifestyle media: In 2003, Cox founded SheKnows Media, where he worked with Rainbow, who served as the director of architecture. SheKnows is a premium digital media company for women that focuses on food, parenting, beauty, health, fitness and more. The company was sold in 2012 while holding the top spot in comScore's lifestyle category.
"We are incredibly excited to join forces with such a dynamic, diverse and innovative company as Gannett," said Cox. "As someone with a background in both print and online media, I know how extraordinary it is to team up with a company that touches the lives of millions. Thanks to USA TODAY NETWORK's reach and wealth of creative and professional resources, the new opportunities available to Grateful are truly unparalleled."
Headquartered in downtown Phoenix, Grateful will be expanding the team to support the development and launch of the new lifestyle sites, such as beauty & style, parenting, health & fitness and more. Additionally, the company has plans to build a state-of-the-art video-production and photography facility, which will include a kitchen studio to regularly produce original video series and shows.