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Twitter Buys Niche, a Social Media Talent Agency, for at Least $30 Million

Twitter gets into the talent agency business.

Instagram / Matt Cutshall
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Twitter has acquired Niche, a small startup that connects advertisers with social media stars — who are increasingly able to make money on services like Twitter and Twitter’s Vine video service.

Twitter wouldn’t disclose a purchase price, but people familiar with the transaction pegged the deal at about $30 million. It’s possible that earn-outs and employment contracts could inflate that number significantly — a couple people I talked to think it could go as high as $60 million.

The company had previously raised $4 million from investors including Lerer Ventures, SV Angel, Advancit Capital and William Morris Endeavor.

This move means that Twitter is now the owner of a social media talent agency. And that means it can tap a revenue stream it wasn’t previously participating in — both on its properties and on other social services like YouTube and Facebook’s Instagram.

That said, I assume the main draw for Twitter will be the chance to offer Niche’s services as a value-add to Twitter advertisers.

Like many startups, Niche had set its sights on becoming a tech platform, but in the meantime it was much closer to a service business. The company, which launched in 2013, takes money from advertisers and uses it to hire social stars like Matt Cutshall, the guy in the Instagram photo at the top of this post, to appear in ads like this one for Showtime’s “Californication” series.

Niche co-founder Rob Fishman used to run social media at the Huffington Post, then started Kingfish Labs, a startup built on Facebook data, which he sold to BuzzFeed. His partner, Darren Lachtman, has a background in digital marketing.

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