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As Digital Media Falters, Betches Hits Its Stride, Expanding Headcount and Revenue Streams



Lifestyle and comedy publisher Betches, which chronicles dating and pop culture for a predominantly female audience, just introduced digital advertising to its newly redesigned website in late July. The move is part of a broader effort to diversify its business and signal a new chapter for the digital media company.

Created and still wholly owned by its three cofounders, Betches has seen its revenue grow 40% every year since 2020, and it has been profitable since its inception in 2011, according to chief revenue officer David Spiegel. 

Now an eight-figure operation, Betches has parlayed its distinctive editorial tone—a blend of irreverence and relatability—into a robust brand partnership business, with 80% of its revenue related to social media sponsorship. 

Consumer revenue, mostly from product licensing, commerce and affiliate marketing, makes up 15% of its balance sheet, with podcast subscriptions and events revenue comprising the remaining 5%, according to Spiegel. 

“The founders built the business without having to take outside funding, which can lead to problems,” said chief content officer Kate Ward, the founding editor in chief of Bustle. “They have been measured and smart about it, and now we can scale the company intelligently.”

Its stability and commercial success come as many of its peers, including BuzzFeed Inc. and Vice Media, have struggled to find their footing amid a rapidly shifting digital media landscape. By growing slowly and leaning into its on-platform audience, Betches has cultivated a loyal following that it now has the opportunity—and challenge—to monetize in new ways.  

“They are signaling that they are ready to do more and turn on new revenue streams,” said Eunice Shin, partner at the digital strategy firm Prophet. “The biggest challenge now is choosing what to do and how to do it—how do they chart a trajectory for growth that remains sustainable?”

A new website to woo larger budgets

Betches has operated without ads on its website since 2019, in part because of its limited reach: The domain attracts roughly 55,000 readers per month, according to Comscore. 

While the addition of ads to the website is unlikely to generate significant revenue, the strategy could help Betches sell larger direct buys to advertisers, packaging together its social audience, newsletter readership, podcast listenership and web traffic. The publisher plans to pursue mostly direct-sold ad buys, and it has expanded its sales team to a headcount of roughly 20.

According to Brandon Marshall, a director of digital investments at Havas who has worked with Betches on behalf of a financial services client, the new website inventory clearly complements its valuable social audience. 

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