It's been bleak for digital media. Headlines blare about fire sales of companies like Mic and Gawker, layoffs at companies like HuffPost and Vice, and consolidation rumors. The anticipated digital advertising boom hasn't materialized, as most of the revenue is going to Facebook and Google and media companies have struggled to diversify their revenue with things like events, commerce, and subscriptions.Still, it's not all gloom and doom. Jon Steinberg's streaming business news service Cheddar sold for a healthy $200 million to cable company Altice USA, underscoring the value of live news for millennials.Viacom plunked down $340 million for Pluto TV, signaling a big market for ad-supported streaming TV. Spotify paid $230 million for podcast company Gimlet Media, showing there's value in media that commands people's undivided attention.
And investors are pouring money into media companies they think will survive and thrive the upheaval. Some, like Girlboss Media, are tapping into people's hunger for face-to-face community. Others, like The Athletic, are getting sports fans to pay for news with in-depth local and national coverage by established writers.Business Insider asked more than 10 investors which media startups they think will blow up this year and why (most picked companies they've invested in).
Here are their picks, in alphabetical order: