Univision and Disney-ABC have hit their funding threshold for their joint-venture project, Fusion, which targets Millennial English-speaking Hispanics.
Fusion declined to comment.
Univision, which posted third-quarter earnings on Monday, said it has lost almost $20 million this year in the venture, which it said is “expected” in the early years of a new company.
While the Spanish-language cable company expressed its commitment to Fusion, it revealed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission that it has recognized a loss of $17.8 million related to its share of Fusion’s net losses since the end of September.
Univision, which is in the process of preparing an initial public offering, said net losses in Fusion have “exceeded its equity-method investment basis” and that it has recorded an equity method investment “liability” of $700,000 as of Sept. 30.
Fusion, which is perhaps best known for its anchor Jorge Ramos, as well as a buzzy immigration story (incorrectly) cited by Donald Trump, hasn’t been given too much leeway from the press on its slow growth. Although it’s technically a start-up, Fusion has the support of deep-pocketed partners, who have been funneling money into the company with little return since it was formed in July 2012. Launched in October 2013, Fusion registered a net loss of $27.4 million on sales of $3 million and expenses of $30.3 million in 2013, according to an SEC filing. Last year, the company earned $28.1 million in revenue and burned through $63 million, for a loss of $35 million.
According to Univision, which owns a 50 percent no-controlling stake in the joint venture with Disney, Fusion recently got a cash infusion of $17.1 million, $5.6 million of which was designated to build its slow-moving digital business.
At the beginning of the year, Google Analytics said Fusion garnered about 2.5 million unique visitors a month, a paltry return on investment considering Fusion had lured in a pack of buzzy journalists with fat salaries. Since launch, Fusion scooped up The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal, Reuters’ Felix Salmon, Jezebel’s Anna Holmes, New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose, NBC News’ Hillary Frey and Vice’s Tim Pool.
Although it has taken some time, Fusion said it currently attracts about 8.5 million uniques a month — a formidable increase in a year — but not even close to the level of Buzzfeed, which pulls about 85 million a month, or Vox Media (about 58 million), according to Comscore. It’s more on par with Condé Nast’s The New Yorker, which grabs almost 11 million a month, or Vanity Fair, which gets roughly 8 million. For the record, Comscore painted a more modest picture of Fusion’s traffic. In May, Fusion’s traffic hit 3.2 million, followed by June (4.1 million), July (5.2 million), August (6.8 million) and September (6.7 million).
But Fusion has noted that the company isn’t playing the same game as a linear publisher. Fusion content can be consumed across platforms, such as Apple TV, Roku, Sling TV, Spotify, Vessel, Verizon FiOS and DirecTV.