How to spend $4.5 million
So why does a blog company need all that cash? Without giving too much away here are a few reasons.
1 We are competing with mainstream media - As we have grown we have edged more towards the mainstream. In fact some of our readers probably don’t realise that they are actually reading a blog. At the same time, in the UK at least, almost every newspaper and magazine has started their own blog. Whether we like it or not we are competing for eyeballs not just with fellow bloggers but also with online offerings from newspaper and magazine publishers. So far we have come a long way on our creative ideas and passion for the web. Now we have financial resources not only to mix it with the big media players, but also to take Shiny from start up status into a mature business.
2 We need to develop the commercial side of our business - So far we have attracted adverts from a large number of blue chip companies including Nokia, Sony, Philips, Gillette, Dyson and many others. In fact we have probably had more blue chip advertisers on our sites than any blog network other than the big two Weblogs and Gawker. And this has largely been a case of the agencies coming to us. Our limited resources have so far been very focussed on the creative side of Shiny. Now we have the investment and the contacts to seriously monetise our business.
3 We see video as the future for blogging - In the past few months over a million people have watched our videos either on our sites or at YouTube. We have also lent one of our presenters to the BBC. The investment will enable us to develop more creative uses for video on blogs.
4 We are expanding our range of blogs - We see blogs as the specialist magazines of the future. And we Brits love our specialist magazines. There are many niches which we are going to launch into. We also hope to acquire a few British blogs along the way.
5 We are eyeing up new horizons - Here’s where it gets interesting. The money will enable us to work on new, exciting and innovative projects? In an age of Digg and social media ranking sites can publishers still deliver their own blog aggregators? Will ‘how to videos’ work in vertical channels. Can a UK media company deliver a truly global website? We’ll find out soon enough.
At our heart though we are still a blog network. We love the immediacy, openness and flexibility of both blogs and the blogosphere and that will never change.
Why Bright Station Ventures? Well we have worked really hard to develop Shiny and we wanted like-minded entrepreneurs who were prepared to ‘sweat’ with us, not just look over our shoulder. Shaa and Dan are both dynamos who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. They don’t just bring the backing of an exciting new fund to Shiny, they also bring experience, contacts and the kind of commercial nous Shiny needs to achieve its goals. We are very excited to be working with them.