Buzznet, which runs niche sites covering mostly entertainment topics (music, celebrity and others), has raised $12.5 million in a round led by Focus Ventures that also included Anthem Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Redpoint Ventures and Sutter Hill Ventures. Buzznet also announced that it will change its name to Buzz Media, Inc. to more accurately reflect its broader focus.
Buzznet has been building its portfolio of sites in recent years. It started with its flagship property buzznet.com, and then bought blogs stereogum.com, idolator.com, absolutepunk.net and a few others from owners ranging from VC fund The Pilot Group to Gawker Media. The company’s content comes from a combination of in-house editors and user-gen submissions, and runs the gamut of entertainment content, from articles to photos, videos, games and contests. In summer last year, it started celebrity news site Celebuzz, and hired away TMZ.com GM Alan Citron to run it.
The online-advertising environment has turned ugly in recent months. But Buzznet’s funders (which include Universal Music Group) are betting that advertisers will see value in sites that publish a combination of in-house and user-submitted content targeted around narrow topic areas. More details in release.