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WPP Buys into Asian Content Platform 88rising

Variety logo Variety 6/1/2017 Patrick Frater
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Leading global advertising agency WPP has made a strategic investment in 88rising, a U.S.-based producer of digital content catering to the Asian millennial market.

Headed by Jaseon Ma and founded in 2015, 88rising is based in New York and Los Angeles, with plans to open another in Shanghai. The company is also increasingly involved in management of young Asian artists. Terms of the transaction with WPP were not disclosed.

It has produced over 500 hours of original content that has generated over 80 million total video views on Facebook and YouTube. More than half of 88rising’s 16-34-year-old viewers are in the Asia Pacific region. It has branded and sponsored content deals with companies including Adidas, Maybelline and Revolve, an online fashion and cosmetics retailer.

WPP, which is a backer of Vice and Li Ruigang’s China Media Capital, last year enjoyed digital revenues of $7.5 billion, accounting for 39% of group revenues. It aims to hit 45% within the next five years.

It has invested in several specialized digital content companies. They include Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital, a leader in producing and distributing music and digital content for the important-to-reach, urban-centric youth culture, and Refinery29, a leading fashion and lifestyle media company that provides content, shopping solutions and social networking opportunities in the fashion, shopping and beauty categories targeted towards millennial women. It also has strategic investments in Fullscreen, Indigenous Media, Imagina (a content rights and media company based in Spain), and MRC.

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