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Exclusive: Digital media firm 10PM Curfew acquires Mewing app

Apr 29, 2024
Illustration of a hand holding a cell phone displaying a $100 bill on the screen surrounded by social media icons.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

10PM Curfew, a digital media firm geared toward women, acquired Mewing and launched a new entity, Glow Up, to build and buy self-improvement apps, co-founder Razvan Romanescu tells Axios.

Why it matters: The strategy is part of a push to diversify revenue from advertising on social platforms to more owned and operated products.

Context: Romanescu is a social media veteran. In 2012, he co-founded, which became Memes Media Group, a portfolio of more than 40 social accounts like @memes and @funny. He later created gaming-focused network Gamelancer, which sold to publicly traded Wondr Gaming.

  • 10PM Curfew launched in 2019 as a media network for fashion and beauty. It has about 60 social accounts including @girls and @style. Actress Bella Thorne initially served as a partner and face but is no longer involved. Last month, it acquired celebrity news site Hollywood Life.
  • The company is self-funded. The majority of revenue comes from brand campaigns with clients like Amazon, Meta, Hinge and Temu. It also makes money from programmatic ads on Hollywood Life's website and through ad revenue sharing on platforms like Snapchat.
  • 10PM Curfew has 25 staffers. It recently hired Stu Hollenshead, who previously worked as CBO of Barstool Sports, as president and CRO.

Fun fact: The name 10PM Curfew stems from social analytics showing that hour as the busiest time for people on their phones.

Driving the news: Romanescu says 10PM Curfew wants to be a launchpad for apps and direct-to-consumer brands that support wellness, including diet and exercise. Glow Up will house those brands while the wider 10PM Curfew network manages related content and social promotion.

  • The company identified facial fitness as a fast-growing trend on TikTok, and that's how it discovered Mewing, Romanescu says.
  • Mewing app co-founder Yury Nebyshynets joined 10PM Curfew as a co-founder of Glow Up and received equity in the new entity.

State of play: Even as more ad budgets go to social media and online creators, social media publishers have pursued revenue stability and growth through other sources like commerce and events.

  • Doing Things, owner of Recess Therapy, Middle Class Fancy and other meme accounts, expanded to commerce with golf apparel and meme-related merchandise.
  • Literally Media, owner of Know Your Meme and other brands, hosts ticketed comedy shows and plans to launch a FAST channel.
  • Betches Media, acquired by LBG Media last year, also hosts ticketed comedy shows and sells merchandise like sweatshirts and hats.

What's next: Romanescu says the goal is to grow from 70 million to more than 100 million followers across its social accounts.

  • Romanescu says the team would be interested in a strategic partnership but has pursued slow and profitable growth, for now.
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