Why should Comcast have all the fun buying up new media products? Univision Communications –parent company of the Univision TV network and dozens of other radio and TV stations — has reportedly snapped up a controlling stake in Onion Inc.
For those not familiar with The Onion, well… just go back to sleep because you’ve apparently not used the Internet in the last fifteen years.
While the satirical news organization has long been running its non-satire media site AVclub.com, it has expanded in recent years to include Clickhole, an absurdist sendup of clickbait sites, and StarWipe, its takedown of inane celebrity reporting. The Onion has also been ramping up its video content, both as content for its sites, for use on streaming video services, and also for “Onion Labs” sponsored content that can bring in advertising money.
All of this has apparently made the company attractive to Univision. According to NPR, the L.A.-based media company has purchased a 40% stake in Onion Inc., with a decisive “dibs” on purchasing the entire Onion at a later date.
Univision is most popularly known for its namesake television offering, but the company has branched out in recent years, partnering with Disney-owned ABC to create Fusion. In 2013, Univision launched the El Rey cable TV channel, which airs English-language shows — like the TV adaptation of From Dusk Til Dawn — targeted to a Latino audience. Earlier this year, Univision acquired The Root, which describes itself as the “premier news, opinion and culture site for African-American influencers.”
In addition to the revenue generated by The Onion, which has 8.75 million Twitter followers just for the flagship site, these newly acquired sites can help Univision drive traffic to its other online properties.
“Univision is excited to help Onion Inc. grow, and to provide the resources to both support our long-standing mission and fund new initiatives,” reads a memo from Onion Inc. CEO Mike McAvoy to staff. “They’ll help us keep the foundation strong and to build great new things on top of it. As an independent media company, we’ve always been forced to run a tight financial ship, which has made us smart and lean, but not always ready to invest in the great new ideas that we come up with.”