clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

No joke: Demand Media sells to E.W. Scripps for $39 million


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.

Here’s a story about a new media company selling an old media brand to an old media company that wants to be a new media company: Demand Media is selling humor site Cracked to E.W. Scripps for $39 million.

Demand is the company that once scared the beejeebus out of the media business, when its super-low-cost, search-driven, content-farm model looked like the future. Then Google shifted the way it generated search results, and Demand fell down and never recovered.

Now Demand has shrunk down to a company that’s running a handful of content sites with declining traffic and revenue, and a smaller but growing e-commerce business. The cash sale “significantly strengthens our balance sheet, and positions us to drive profitable growth moving forward,” CEO Sean Moriarty said in a statement.

Cracked was founded in 2005, but gets to associate itself with the brand created by the Mad knock-off magazine founded in 1958. It has 40 employees, and generated $11 million in revenue last year.

In January, comScore said the site attracted eight million U.S. visitors; the Demand release plays up Cracked’s “one million YouTube subscribers and more than 20 million monthly video views across YouTube and Facebook.”

E.W. Scripps, meanwhile, started out as a newspaper company in 1878, but has gotten out of that business. Now its primary revenue stream comes from a portfolio of TV stations it owns, but it is expanding into digital. Last year it bought podcasting producer/distributor Midroll for at least $50 million.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.