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GeekWire Illustration, via Cheezburger Builder
GeekWire Illustration, via Cheezburger Builder.

Two of the biggest names in Internet comedy, Cheezburger and eBaum’s World, are now part of the same corporate family.

Jacob Nizri

Cheezburger this morning revealed new details about the previously unnamed company that recently acquired the Seattle-based comedy network. The newly formed company is Literally Media, owned by Israeli advertising technology veteran Jacob Nizri. Financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Literally Media has also taken a controlling stake in comedy site eBaum’s World, and the company is aiming to leverage the combined audience of about 24 million users worldwide to make a stronger case to advertisers, particularly those seeking to reach millennials and Generation Z users.

In the U.S., the combined audience of more than 10 million users puts eBaum’s World and Cheezburger ahead of Comedy Central, at No. 5 in comScore’s Entertainment/Humor category, the company says. Currently the two sites rank at No. 9 and 10, respectively, in that comScore category.

“Now we have scale in the category,” said Scott Moore, the CEO of Cheezburger and former MSN and Yahoo executive. Under the new structure, Moore is CEO of the U.S. subsidiary that operates the Cheezburger sites.

Cheezburger, founded in 2007 by former journalist Ben Huh, soared in popularity in its early years, capitalizing on the Internet’s appetite for funny cat pictures. But with declining traffic in recent years, Cheezburger had lost the ability to pursue higher-margin direct advertising deals, relying instead on lower-margin programmatic advertising revenue. The company shrunk from about 50 employees at its peak to 15 currently as a result of changes in its business.

Cheezburger CEO Scott Moore
Cheezburger CEO Scott Moore

However, with sites like Fail Blog, I Can Has Cheezburger, Know Your Meme and others, Cheezburger is still drawing a demographic that is increasingly difficult for advertisers to reach through TV and other traditional means.

EBaum’s World, based in San Francisco, was founded in 2001 by Eric Bauman.

“We believe that by bringing together these two exciting destinations, we are creating a ‘must have’ destination for media planners interested in engaging with the Millennial and Generation Z demographic,” said Literally Media CEO Ori Elraviv in a news release. “We’ve already succeeded in implementing data driven decisions in the operations of eBaum’s World, using Literally Media’s proprietary data optimization technology, and truly believe this is just the beginning of our journey to expand our reach with this fascinating audience.”

The extent to which eBaum’s and Cheezburger will combine operations is still to be determined, Moore said. So far, Cheezburger has been taking advantage of its new owner’s expertise to optimize revenue, and they’re in discussions about how to take full advantage of Literally Media’s larger portfolio of sites. Cheezburger is expected to remain in Seattle, and the company is hiring to fill open positions. Know Your Meme is based in New York City.

Cheezburger has also seen substantial growth in its Spanish-language site, Loquillo, with a significant audience in Central and South America, and it’s starting to build its ad business in those markets, as well.

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