React Media, the YouTube– and Facebook-focused video company formerly known as Fine Brothers Entertainment, has been acquired by digital startup Electric Monster Media.
React was cofounded in 2004 by YouTuber brothers Benny and Rafi Fine, and currently produces several major brands across YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, including Kids React, Teens React, Celebs React, People vs. Food, and Try Not To. Its core YouTube channel, REACT, has 20.2 million subscribers and 11.2 billion views to date.
With the acquisition, Electric Monster will take over all of React Media’s IPs and operations. React’s team, around 25 people, will join Electric Monster.
The Fine brothers themselves, however, will not. The duo pulled back from React Media in 2020, after a video surfaced showing Benny Fine in blackface as part of a Degrassi parody by Shane Dawson. At the same time, numerous former employees told Business Insider that the company was a toxic workplace and that they’d experienced or witnessed instances of racism and discrimination.
In a statement, the brothers said they will be “stepping away to spend some quality time with our family.”
“We trust the company and channels are in good hands to continue to evolve, expand, and thrive,” they said.
Electric Monster intends to “supercharge” kids and family content brands
React’s new owner Electric Monster describes itself as an “evolution” of former consultation agency Little Monster Media with the goal of acquiring and “supercharging” digital content properties in the kids and family spaces. Little Monster was founded in 2016 by former Channel Frederator executives Matt Gielen and Jake Krengel, as well as ReelSEO founder Mark Robetson and former Ovation Digital Arts director of talent partnerships Josh Zimmerman.
Gielen now leads Electric Monster as CEO.
“We’ve been strategically working behind the scenes to develop a new data-driven path of digital video channel IP investment, acquisition and growth, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to finally come out from behind the curtain and shake up the industry a bit,” Gielen said in a statement. “Electric Monster is focusing on finding and investing in the channels on these platforms with significant unrealized potential, and building them into the valuable properties they are meant to be.”
React Media is Electric Monster’s fifth acquisition; it did not say what other channels or brands it has acquired.
In tandem with announcing its acquisition of React Media, Electric Monster is revealing the newly hired executive team joining Gielen, as well as its stable of investors.
The company has received an undisclosed amount of funding from Metropolitan Partners Group, Heroic Ventures, Creator Capital (led by former YouTube exec Benjamin Grubbs), Together Venture Partners, and Future Today Inc. founders Vikrant Mathur and Alok Ranjan.
The company’s new executive team includes former Sockeye Media founder/CEO Harry Jho as head of programming; Surge Licensing principal Elan Freedman as head of IP and licensing; former Cornwall Capital managing director Asa Greenberg; former Cornwall Capital partner, COO, CCO, and CFO Ian Haft as CFO; and longtime filmmaker Paul Hanson, CEO of Capacitor Studios, as a board member.
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