Emmis entered into a JV with Flexco, owned by popular Emmis personality Funkmaster Flex, to build a network of O&O digital platforms for Emmis’ biggest personalities. One of radio’s most visible personalities, Flex has built a large online and mobile audience with InFlexWeTrust.com and the DJ Funk Flex Mobile app.
Flex will be working with other personalities in New York and in other Emmis markets to develop similar digital footprints. Emmis plans to develop a network of sites, apps and social networks with the unique entertainment and news content young audiences and advertisers’ desire. Flex has already launched AngieReview.com for Angie Martinez, Afternoon Drive Personality on Hot97, ThatsEnuff.com for DJ Enuff on Hot 97 and is working on a digital project for Hot97’s morning show personality Ebro Darden.
“We’re thrilled to invest in Flex’s digital assets and work closely with him to continue to innovate in the digital space,” said Patrick Walsh, CFO, COO and Emmis Radio Division President. “Flex has built a successful mobile and online platform that reaches more than 5 million people monthly and he already has started work with other talented Emmis personalities at Hot 97 to expand their digital presence. We expect this partnership to enable us to rapidly expand our digital content offering for our passionate fans and advertisers.”
“Today’s digital world has changed how personalities and DJs interact with listeners and music fans,” Flex said. “We must reinvent ourselves to stay relevant and grow. I jumped in feet first to learn what it takes to create an audience online. The partnership with Emmis provides the foundation we need to turn our brands and personalities into a real digital business. The opportunity to share what I have learned is exciting, and our future lives in doing digital with our biggest brands and best personalities.”
While financial terms were not disclosed, the investment will give Emmis a 40% ownership in Flexco.
RBR-TVBR observation: Funkmaster Flex has been an iconic NYC mixmaster and DJ for decades. The deal further helps Emmis establish itself as a major player in the Urban radio marketplace. The Flexco investment will vertically integrate well with Emmis strong Urban presence in the top two markets with WBLS, Hot 97, WLIB in NYC and KPWR-FM in LA. The move, while strong on the digital side alone, will also aid in breaking new music, drawing big acts into their studios and working unique promotional opportunities for advertisers coast to coast.