Moviepilot, a movie site targeting (you guessed it) millennials, is announcing that it has raised $16 million in Series B funding.
The company started in Germany before launching in the United States three years ago, when it also raised $7 million in funding, according to CEO Tobi Bauckhage (pictured above with his co-founders Jon Handschin and Ben Kubota). Last year it sold the German business to French entertainment publisher Webedia for $20 million.
Webedia must have been happy with the purchase, since it led the Series B, as well. Past investors, including T-Venture, also participated.
Bauckhage described Moviepilot as something “between the platform and the publisher model.” (Just please don’t call it a platisher.) It offers a publishing platform for fans, then it curates a mix of fan and editorial content on its front page and on social media.
The company says it reaches 25 million monthly unique visitors through its website, and is seeing more than 40 million monthly video views on Facebook. It also says that more than 75 percent of its readers and viewers are 35 or younger.
And Moviepilot doesn’t just treat those fans as easy sources of content. As Bauckhage explained it, the company actually puts fans front and center: “We give those kids access.” So it’s the fans, not Moviepilot’s editorial team, that gets to cover movie premieres and interview the stars. (He also said the company is exploring revenue-sharing opportunities with its fan contributors.)
As an example of how Moviepilot can work with studios, Bauckhage said that 20th Century Fox invited horror contributor Nicole Renee to preview the Poltergeist trailer, and her positive writeup made a big splash when the trailer launched.
“We’re creating opportunities for those kids and providing an authentic kind of amplification,” Bauckhage said. He added that even though Moviepilot was working with Fox, “The model here is, we will never censor [our contributors], but we control distribution” — so if you don’t like a movie that a studio is working with Moviepilot to promote, then the story might not go on the front page.
The new funding will help Moviepilot ramp up its social media-focused video production efforts and move into other subject areas, particularly gaming. Bauckhage said the team’s still deciding whether that means launching a new gaming site or just incorporating more gaming content into Moviepilot itself.