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The Young Turks

The Young Turks (TYT), a progressive online news network catered to millennials, has raised $20 million in a round of funding led by 3L Capital and including Greycroft, e.ventures and WndrCo – the new venture capital firm founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg.

  • Once a radio brand turned YouTube channel, TYT has exploded into a multi-channel news and commentary platform that reaches an enormous millennial audience.
  • How they'll spend it: In an interview with Axios, TYT Co-Founder and Host Cenk Uygur says the money will go toward building a tech team to improve community building and outreach, a sales team to monetize their audience and add more programming for subscribers and its general audience.
  • Why it matters: This is the first time the company has taken money to expand its business and they have a very strategic plan of how they plan to move forward in over-the-top (OTT) streaming, building proprietary technology and expanding its reach on social platforms.

Our thought bubble: The foray into streaming is smart because they have experience in that market, which is growing rapidly as their core audience of millennials cuts the cord and ditches standard cable packages. TYT Network says it's currently the most-watched channel on Pluto TV and the third-most-watched channel on Comcast's Watchable OTT service.

Uygur says TYT is the "new center." Once traditionally progressive, they've now caught up with the political leanings of its audience, millennials, who he says are far more progressive than any other generation in America.

Uygur says the company is very excited about building a "skinny bundle," or a streaming service collection of news channels they produce that can be made available via a monthly subscription package. They are also excite to build out their own tech platforms, potentially including a proprietary content management system (CMS).

Currently, TYT operates on a "freemium" model, where they offer free and subscription-based news. They currently have around 30,000 subscribers that mostly pay around $10 monthly for TYT's content. They are looking to expand that audience to reach the mass scale of their earned audience (200 million video views per month).

From an investment standpoint, 3L Capital's Shawn Colo says TYT is attractive because it has an incredibly engaged community. "We see a lot of businesses that promote scale, but the good thing about TYT is that it has scale but has community engagement at its core. From a business perspective, this lets us be innovative and creative."

Note: Greycoft is an investor in Axios.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.