Update: Magnify Makes Waywire Acquisition Official, Talks With Us About The Future Of Web Video

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October 17, 2013 ‐ By

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Update: Magnify made its acquisition of Waywire (or #Waywire, to be specific) official today, announcing in a press release that it has purchased the assets of #Waywire.com and added CEO Sarah Ross to the board of advisors.

The site focuses on curating video and content from sources as diverse as VogueWired, Reddit and YouTube. In so doing, the site both taps into the insatiable public appetite for internet video and the need to filter and sift through the mountains of content that is pushed online every day.

Since we had a few moments to tap his expertise, we thought we’d get a sense of how he thinks people can capitalize on the viral power of web video. “The audience is becoming so diverse,” CEO Steven Rosenbaum told MN Business in a phone conversation. Because of that, it’s not a matter of any one thing that will make your video a success. For instance, one partner, AARP, focuses on video that’s well produced and focused on lifestyle issues while a teenager might want something edgier, with less concern about whether the video is high quality. It’s about targeting the viewer.

For viewers, it’s about having some direction when you log on. “People want to watch web video that is smart [and] curated,” Rosenbaum said. He imagines a “Waywire 2.0″ that will be a “program guide” of what a person wants to watch. “It’s a snapshot of what is going on in your web community.” he said. In this way you can go straight to your makeup videos and bypass all the cat videos that might stand in your way.

Will you become a regular Waywire visitor?

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Waywire, the web video site targeting Millennials and associated with Newark Mayor (and soon-to-be New Jersey Senator) Cory Booker, has been sold to Magnify, a web video distributor. At one point, the company had been valued between $1 million and $5 million and raised $1.75 million. But now AllThingsD says it’s unlikely that Mayor Booker made money from this sale. Whatever he did get is going to charity.

From the beginning, Waywire had trouble getting its footing despite backing from a number of big names including Oprah Winfrey and Google’s Eric Schmidt, and of course, Mayor Booker’s social media prowess. At one point it was reported that the site had fewer than 3,000 visits in June. And there were questions whether a public official, and one with the high profile and political access that Mayor Booker has, should be leading a for-profit organization. He had said that, should he win the special election for Senate, that he would give up his stake in the company. Magnify is expected to continue to run Waywire, but power it with its own technology.

The special election for Senate is taking place on Wednesday and Mayor Booker is leading his opponent Steve Lonegan, a conservative Tea Party candidate,  by 10 points. To be honest, the fact that that lead isn’t bigger reiterates the issues the voting public has with casting their ballots for crazies. If you didn’t see Steve Lonegan’s performance during the Senatorial debate last week, here’s a sample of one response he had for Mayor Booker, referring to the Passaic River that runs alongside Newark: “You may not be able to swim in that river, but it’s probably, I think, because of all the bodies floating around from shooting victims in your city.” Mayor Booker’s response: “Oh, my God. Oh, my God.” Really.

USA Today reports that New Jersey hasn’t voted for a Republican for Senate since 1972. The two men are vying for a spot vacated by Frank Lautenberg, who died in June.

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