SpinMedia Bulks Up in Marketing

Company projects 25%-30% growth in Q1

The tide may be turning for entertainment publisher SpinMedia Group, as the company today ramps up its sales and integrated marketing teams.

SpinMedia—which includes sites The Frisky, Stereogum, Idolator, Spin and Celebuzz—will add 13 hires and promotions, including Pete Riherd from Selectable Media and Todd Wienke from Hot Chalk. Riherd will take over as vp and Western sales director, while Wienke becomes vp and Midwest sales director.

"I felt that with the new company we wanted to make sure we are going out with a lot of fresh blood," said SpinMedia group evp Tom Morrissy.

SpinMedia, formerly known as Buzz Media, has had shaky footing in recent history. It notably shut down the print versions of Spin and Vibe, and let go of editor in chief Caryn Ganz. However, it added $10 million in funding from investors, including MC Partners, Focus Ventures, Anthem Ventures and TDF Ventures this past February.

Morrissy said the company is poised to grow 25 percent to 30 percent in the first quarter, compared to the same period last year. It's also expecting a lot of returning advertisers, including Nokia, Miller, Docker’s and Levi’s.

Success is partially thanks to growth in video advertising: 25 percent of its deals are tied to branded video content, Morrissy said. The company’s ability to attract millennials through various platforms like its music festivals and online channels helps keep it attractive to marketers, he added.

"Five years ago, advertisers weren’t putting those kinds of demands, and now it's starting to fill up," Morrissy admitted.

With video perhaps being the key to success, SpinMedia hopes to offer more video advertising packages across its brands tied to events, Morrissy said. One thing he noticed was that all its sites had record traffic during the Grammys, but from the business side, it didn’t offer a way to sell advertising across brands. The company hopes to do so in the future.

Morrissy said SpinMedia also has an eye toward developing mobile and is heavily investing in 24 new series in order to stay relevant with the demographic. He added SpinMedia will add both acquisitions and affiliate partners, which it will announce in the near future. "We want to affiliate with partners that are showing growth and profitability and a path to ownership," Morrissy explained.