StyleHaul, the largest MCN for fashion and beauty related video content on YouTube, today announced it has raised an additional $6M in capital from RTL, a European TV and radio broadcaster, which has a majority stake ownership by Bertelsmann Digital. Bertelsmann also invested $6.5M in StyleHaul earlier this year. Both rounds of funding were originally announced by AllThingsD and bring StyleHaul’s grand total financing to over $17M.
That’s a lot of dough. And where it’s headed?
While the last couple years of StyleHaul’s focus has been scaling its reach (claiming over 300M monthly video views to date), the new funding is said to fuel development on a shoppable player and the company’s content strategy. Merging e-commerce, the influence of beauty and fashion ‘haulers’ on YouTube and a proprietary player would certainly help the MCN scale real revenues.
While the network claims the capital will be directed towards content, StyleHaul took a spin at creating original programming in 2012 and most of the programs are now defunct. StyleHaul does, however, consistently program two flagship shows (FM and LEAF), original content is not a primary banner for the network at present; at least not in comparison to the few hundreds of beauty gurus amassed.
StyleHaul’s sister brand LEAF.tv, which stands for Living Eating Fashion and is not to be confused with content series by the same name, produces enviable content that would make Martha Stuart proud. LEAF has also managed to build a valuable brand off of YouTube as well, a strategy that seems to front of mind for many MCN’s in the industry at present.
Given StyleHaul is notorious for tricky contracts and operates on a relatively meager staff, it will be interesting to watch the business infrastructure scale and to see whether a programming model formulates.
Regardless, the investment tacks on to the recent waterfall of capital flooding into the industry including Awesomeness TV’s acquisition by Dreamworks Animation and Comcast and Peter Chernin’s investment in Fullscreen.