By Sahil Patel
The Young Turks Network has raised a seed financing round from an unlikely source. Roemer, Robinson, Melville & Co., a firm led by former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, a conservative, is investing $4 million into the progressive online news outfit.
Why? “While we don’t necessarily agree on politics,” said TYT Network co-founder and CEO Cenk Uygur, “Buddy and TYT both understand money’s damaging influence on our government. Buddy and RRM support TYT Network’s mission to bring our viewers the unrestricted truth and analysis of the world’s news.”
What started out as a single show on Sirius satellite radio over a decade ago has been transformed into a network of online channels and shows covering everything from politics to sports and pop culture.
The daily news show, “The Young Turks,” is still the network’s centerpiece, accounting for 38 million of TYT Network’s 68 million monthly views.
But the company is monetizing in multiple ways. A great portion of revenue comes from YouTube ads across the network. But TYT Network also has a paid subscription offering, a channel on the digital/linear video network Pluto.TV, and recently struck a deal with Hulu to create two new shows — one of which is a 30-minute version of their flagship political news show — for the platform.
The funding from RRM will be used, in part, to finance the network’s expansion, including efforts to reach over-the-top devices, local television, and syndicate content internationally. The company also hopes to hire more salespeople, upgrade its technical infrastructure, and create more shows.
An option in the RRM clause could provide TYT Network with another $4 million in additional support for these projects.
“RRM has been looking for two years to find the best platform in new media in which to invest,” said Roemer in a statement. “We believe TYT will be one of the critical players moving forward in a new media world — edgy, unfiltered news commentary at its best.”