Turner targets millennial viewers with Refinery29 investment

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Warner Inc’s Turner Networks has agreed to acquire a stake in U.S. digital publisher Refinery29 in a $45 million funding round with other investors to expand its audience of millennial women, the companies said on Thursday.

Turner, which led the round that included Scripps Networks Interactive, declined to disclose the size of its investment in the women’s beauty, fashion and lifestyle website.

Traditional media companies are increasingly looking to digital partners as a way to reach younger audiences which spend much of their time online and on social media.

Refinery29, founded in 2005 as a fashion-focused guide to New York City, attracts more than 27 million unique visitors a month. The company has opened offices in London and Berlin as part of a global expansion.

“We look at Refinery29 as one of the strongest brands reaching the millennial,” David Levy, president of Turner said in an interview. “They have a distinct voice.”

Turner sees the partnership as a way to boost advertising sales and create content that appeals to millennial women, Levy said.

Refinery29 said in a joint statement it would use the investment to expand its video production business.

Christina Miller, president and general manager of Turner’s Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, will join Refinery29’s board of directors, the companies said.

Turner, which owns cable networks CNN, TBS and the Cartoon Network, has made a similar investment in digital publisher Mashable and expanded its sports news site Bleacher Report to extend its digital reach.

Reporting by Anna Driver; Editing by Richard Chang