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Social video startup The News Movement acquires The Recount

Jan 30, 2023
Illustration of a hand with a megaphone coming out from a mobile phone screen.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The News Movement, a video news startup with offices in London and New York, has acquired The Recount for an undisclosed amount of equity.

Why it matters: The deal expands the acquirer's presence in the U.S. and rescues The Recount, which had laid off a large portion of its staff last year and was prepared to shutter.

  • "We are completely aligned on purpose," says William Lewis, CEO of The News Movement, "to help try to combat this pernicious misinformation crisis that is so blighting U.S. democracy and other democracies around the world."

Catch up quick: The News Movement was founded in 2020 by Lewis, who was formerly CEO of Dow Jones, former BBC News editorial director Kamal Ahmed and other former Dow Jones executives.

  • The startup launched in the U.S. in October with Jessica Coen, formerly chief content officer of Morning Brew, as its U.S. executive editor.
  • It has raised $15 million from friends, family, private offices and some strategic investors including British media company National World.

Details: Lewis says in addition to the shared purpose, he was interested in acquiring The Recount due to the caliber of its staff, its specialization and expertise in political news and its significant social media reach.

  • The Recount will remain a separate brand. Eight people, including editor-in-chief Slade Sohmer, will join The News Movement, which currently has 52 staffers.
  • The Recount had raised more than $31 million but struggled to find a profitable business model. It raised $18 million in a Series B funding round led by Foundry Group in 2021 and raised $13 million in a Series A round led by Union Square Ventures in 2020.
  • The News Movement's revenue model includes a content studio business, making social video ads for other companies. It has a deal with The Associated Press, which includes sharing offices in exchange for running its TikTok account, and has a commercial partnership with French media outlet Brut.
  • Semafor first reported the deal.

What's next: The News Movement has considered raising more funding. "We don't need to," Lewis says. "But I've been in the game for 30-odd years, and I've never seen growth opportunity like this."

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