By Sahil Patel
It’s no secret that money has been flooding into MCN Land, with a large bulk going to Maker Studios, Fullscreen, and StyleHaul (as well as a few international MCNs here and there) over the past year. So when I hear from industry insiders that Big Frame has been on the hunt for additional capital for the better part of a year, I am, at first, not surprised. Though I do wonder why the YouTube talent house hasn’t been able to lock up new capital when other MCNs seem to be having a relatively easy time with it.
The answer, probably: Unlike the aforementioned MCNs, Big Frame isn’t as focused on rapidly scaling an audience across thousands and thousands of creators (which is what VCs look for). It’s a talent house, looking to actually represent everyone it represents.
On the bright side, those like me who wonder out loud “what’s going on with Big Frame?” might not have to do that as much anymore. VideoInk has learned from sources with knowledge of the plans that Big Frame is close to locking down an additional $2–3 million to carry them through 2014 — but not without a few targeted pivots in the process.
According to the same sources, Big Frame is looking to re-evaluate its current verticals strategy, and going forward, will put a greater emphasis on Polished, its network geared toward beauty and fashion content.
Why? Well that part is a bit obvious: Beauty is a big business on YouTube, with big beauty brands increasingly looking to YouTube to reach current and potential new customers. The beauty vertical is also spearheading the most innovation in the video space with products like a shoppable video player, which would make it much more easier to convert a viewer to a customer. Polished, with its network of beauty creators and video and social content, has a great opportunity to tap into the influx of beauty brand dollars on YouTube.
Right now the beauty space on YouTube is dominated by StyleHaul, which ostensibly would become the biggest competitor for Polished if Big Frame chooses to build the network out.
As for Big Frame’s other verticals — Forefront (urban/lifestyle), Wonderly (geeky girls), and Outlandish (LGBT) — we are told they will no longer be a “core focus” at Big Frame, though as far as we can tell, the company isn’t looking to shut down any of them. Primarily, this appears to be a matter of Big Frame shifting its strategy to match where a lot of the brand-dollars are on YouTube.
Unsurprisingly, according to sources, some or all of the funds are likely to come from a “major media company,” which would make sense when you consider who has been investing in MCNs over the past year.
This new funding would raise Big Frame’s total to $5–6 million. In August 2012, the network raised $3 million in seed funding from the likes of Anthem Venture Partners, Daher Capital, and LaunchPad LA, as well as angel investors like Diego Berdakin and Adam Lilling.