Magnify Networks Acquires Waywire

/ Oct 17, 2013

magnifymascot

Magnify Networks has acquired Waywire, the social video startup originally backed by former Newark mayor and newest US senator Cory Booker. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though we hear that Magnify was not the only potential suitor for Waywire, which lets users create, curate, and share videos via their own personal “wires.”

Per the deal, Magnify bought all Waywire assets and will serve as the engine for the social video service. Magnify says Waywire.com will now include “one of the largest collections of curated videos on the internet,” offering content across a variety of channels, from those centering on specific topics, to “social wires” that curate trending videos from social media, to “pro wires” that pull in premium content from publishers like Vogue, Wired, Car & Driver, Seventeen, Engadget, Mashable, and Vice.

For Magnify, this is “a big deal,” according to CEO Steven Rosenbaum, who describes Magnify.net and Waywire as being very “synergistic” platforms. As Magnify builds up Waywire, Rosenbaum hopes his company’s services help create a “channel guide” for web video. “We hear from every publisher we talk to that they want to be in a program guide,” says Rosenbaum. It would allow web video to offer something similar to what consumers are used to on television (and hopefully solve that nagging discovery problem), while also embracing what actually makes the web different, which is the ability for creators of all sizes to produce and program content for their audiences.

To that end, Rosenbaum plans to grow his company’s relationships with creators with the hopes of helping them build out their own content brands via Waywire.

As for the Magnify.net brand, it will continue to power video offerings from top media companies and publishers like the BBC and New York Magazine. (In fact, Magnify.net also runs the video page on VideoInk.) And as more and more publishers look to “build their own silos of content,” Rosenbaum says Magnify and Waywire will be ready to help them “program” their own networks. By doing this, that channel guide strategy should come into fruition.

Under the agreement, Waywire’s acting CEO Sarah Ross will join the board of advisors at Magnify.net. Booker had previously said that he was donating his shares in the company to charity. By the time the deal was completed, most of the Waywire staff had either left or been let go.

In terms of changes to the Waywire service, besides it now being powered by Magnify.net, Magnify has temporarily shelved the “Build Your Own Wire” tool. Though it will definitely return, according to Rosenbaum.

Waywire had raised $1.75 million from a group of investors that includes Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Oprah Winfrey.

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