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January 29, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:25am

Barcroft expands and rebrands after ‘explosion’ in digital advertising revenue

By Freddy Mayhew

News and content agency Barcroft has expanded with new senior hires following an “explosion” in digital revenue growth, which has also prompted it to undergo a rebrand.

Parent company Barcroft Holdings – under which editorial arm Barcroft Media, digital and TV arm Barcroft Productions and branded content arm Barcroft Plus all sit – is now Barcroft Studios.

The new business model is said to be similar to that used by Hollywood production studios and will “better reflect the growing opportunities in a rapidly converging content marketplace”, the group said.

Barcroft has hired four new staff members under the restructure. Louise Murray joins as head of production, ex-BBC Three deputy editor Lizzie Wingham as editorial commissioner, Georgina Eyre as distribution consultant and Danny Whitfield in a role overseeing external development.

The company claims its monthly digital ad revenue grew “tenfold” in 2018 following success with original series and licensing its existing Youtube shows for Snapchat and new video platform Facebook Watch.

It said it reached 1bn monthly views in November last year and now boasts more than 30m followers across social media platforms. Barcroft has created and produced 15 series with dedicated pages and audience communities on Facebook Watch, and eight shows on Snapchat Discover.

The company said it has also found success with a strategy of “establishing and incubating hit digital series” on social media, such as Extreme Love and Born Different, “then supersizing them into television series”, which resulted in long-running deals with a number of channels in 2018.

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The Barcroft Studios board is made up of chief executive Sam Barcroft, creative director Alex Morris and managing director Caspar Norman.

Morris told Press Gazette’s Digital Journalism Summit last year that  Barcroft had gone from seeing “almost zero” views for its videos on Facebook in November last year to half-a-billion since the social network changed its algorithm at the start of 2018.

Said Barcroft: “At Barcroft Studios, we have invested in original intellectual property development for over a decade.

“We’ve now reimagined our group to best exploit the opportunities we’re seeing emerging from creating and distributing successful content.

“Barcroft is committed to delivering even more world-class factual entertainment, using amazing true stories to delight global audiences.”

Other Barcroft businesses, press agency Barcroft Wire and photographic agency Barcroft Images, will be unaffected by the restructure.

Channel 4 invested in Barcroft Holdings in 2016 via the Growth Fund, with chief commercial officer Jonathan Allan acting as Barcroft Studios’ board observer on behalf of Channel 4.

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