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Earlier in the week we wrote about how UK blog network Shiny Media has sold half of its business to a new London-based VC fund, in exchange for $4.5m.

I talked to Shiny Media CEO Ashley Norris to find out more about the company’s progress and plans for the future.

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Well done on securing the investment. How much pain was involved in raising the cash?

“The vast majority of VCs we met were too focused on searching out mobile or social networking opportunities. Some VCs actually tried to foist different projects on us, in the spaces that they were interested in. So that didn’t work for us.”

“A number of VCs made the mistake of thinking that there is a low barrier to entry with blogging. This isn’t accurate. Sure, you can set up a blog easily enough but actually putting it on the map – and keeping it there – requires a lot of effort.”

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Why did you choose Bright Station Ventures and how long did it take you to secure the funding?

“When we met Shaa and Dan it was different. They understood what we’re about, and the opportunity. We are a fairly unique content play and both have the right sort of experience that will help us grow further. It took us about three months to wrap up the deal.”

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What will you do with the money?

“The money allows us to move quickly on new ideas, which is one advantage we have over most mainstream media firms. If we have an idea at breakfast we can start working on it that same day. Being able to react quickly to new ideas is key. It will also help us to throw more resource at the commercial side of our business.”

“The amount of growth we generated in 2006 was phenomenal, but there remain some key holes to fill and that’s why we wanted the money. It will also help up protect the position we’ve built up over the past couple of years. We will also be looking at acquisitions in due course.”

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How is Shiny doing compared to Big Media?

“We have built up a huge lead on mainstream media – the big publishers have been slow off the mark in this area. In fact they’re the ones moving towards us!

"Many publishers are experimenting with blog functionality - introducing reader comments, community interaction, adding social networking aspects, that sort of thing. It proves to some degree that our model works.

“This month we’ll have about 3m unique users across our sites - including hecklerspray.com*. The New York Times blogs, which have attracted loads of positive press, generate about 1.3m uniques a month. We’d love to know how the Guardian blogs are doing!”

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And what's the big goal?

"Essentially we want to build Shiny up to be the online equivalent of the likes of EMAP or IPC. We are a media brand and we see the bigger picture.

"We're keeping our eyes open, watching the mobile space, investing in video content... more than a million people have watched our videos in the past few months. It is early days but we've had some short-term success, so we'll continue to experiment with new content."

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(Disclosure: hecklerspray is a entertainment blog I founded in 2005 that is affiliated with - but not owned by - Shiny Media and which pulls in around 600,000 uniques per month)

Chris Lake

Published 31 January, 2007 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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Robert Andrews, Journalist & Publisher at N/A

FYI, Ashley - Neil McIntosh wrote in Press Gazette: “To lift the lid on stats we normally keep pretty quiet: blog traffic of 1.2m page impressions in December 05 grew to a record 7.1m pages in July 06 as the World Cup and troubles in the Middle East sparked lively discussion across our sites." (http://www.completetosh.com/weblog/2007/01/getting_beyond_.html). BBC's Robin Hamann says its blogs got 2.06m uniques and 5.7m page views in October (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/podsandblogs/)

over 9 years ago

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Robert Andrews, Journalist & Publisher at N/A

And more cribbed from Robin:-
"Shane Richmond, at The Telegraph, reveals that:
""In September the blogs got 357,000 page views, almost 12,000 hits per day. We had 34 active bloggers at that time, so that equates to roughly 10,500 hits per blogger. The site isn’t even a year old yet so traffic is at a decent level. Page views have more than doubled in the last six months I’m confident that we will be able double them again in another six months."
"As for The Guardian's Comment is Free, Jeff Jarvis is loose-lipped with some figures, revealing that, as of the 16th of October, "To date, CiF has played host to 6,000 blog posts and 240,000 responses." The Guardian's reader's editor reveals even more, stating that Comment is Free had 2.7 million page impressions in June (no doubt it's higher now), equivalent to over one-third of the total PI's on the Guardian Unlimited network of sites."

over 9 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

Great spot Rob - certainly the Guardian is the daddy then, big numbers there and lots of user participation. Good catch.

Chris

over 9 years ago

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