Viral video network Jukin Media raises $1.2 million in funding

After raising $1 million in the spring, Culver City-based Jukin Media gets $1.2 million more in funding

A crying baby snaps into jamming-out happiness when Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” starts playing in the car. The 38-second cellphone video has garnered nearly 20 million views on YouTube in about two months.

It became one of the most-watched videos in August for Jukin Media. The Culver City start-up acquires YouTube videos it finds online that have the potential to or are already going viral and then licenses them to websites and TV networks. 

Jukin, which typically splits advertising and licensing revenue with video creators, announced Thursday that it had raised $1.2 million from investors to develop more technology and original content. The company, which says it’s turning a profit, raised $1 million last spring and cited investor demand as reasoning for raising  more money again so quickly.

Videos like the crying baby and one in which a whale nearly smacks into a kayaker pushed Jukin to a record 18 million unique video views in August, the most recent month for which Comscore measurement data is available.

Jukin wasn’t included by itself in Comscore’s August online video network rankings because it was the first month that the tracking firm began including views from Jukin in the total of Disney-owned Maker Studios as part of a wide-ranging partnership the two online video networks struck earlier this year. After eliminating duplicates, Jukin added 8 million unique viewers to Maker Studios, giving it 45.3 million -- enough to surpass music video network Vevo at the top of the chart.

Comscore’s Andrew Lipsman said traffic-sharing agreements were common, though the scale of this deal was rare among video networks.

Jonathan Skogmo, Jukin’s founder and chief executive, said it’s nice to get recognition for its contribution to Maker, “but the accomplishment itself -- in this case 18 million uniques -- has its own rewards.”

Viewership figures drive higher value from advertising and give companies bragging rights, said Paul Verna, a digital media industry analyst at research firm EMarketer.

“Media buyers are savvy about networks making the numbers look as good as possible, and it’s why metrics have gotten more complex,” he said. “Monthly visitors are only part of the picture. What are the demographics, how are they viewing, for how long all matter as much.”

Jukin says most of its revenue comes from the licensing deals with outlets such as ABC, MTV and Yahoo.

The start-up’s new investors include Peter Guber, chief executive of Mandalay Entertainment; Allen DeBevoise, chairman of online video network Machinima; Canyon Creek Capital; Karlin Ventures; and Kevin Gould at Kombo Ventures.

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