Malka Media co-founders Jeff Frommer and Louis Krubich.

A content studio and a digital bank may seem like an unconventional marriage, but the acquisition of Malka Media Group by MoneyLion Inc. is part of a long-term plan by Malka’s management. It also reflects broader trends in the media, such as the surge in interest in non-fungible tokens and the provision of educational content on various platforms.

Malka Media Group, which has two headquarters in Santa Monica and Jersey City, NJ, was acquired by New York-based MoneyLion on November 16 for approximately $ 75 million. However, the founders of Malka Media, Louis Krubich and Jeff Frommer, began to lay the foundations for their bridge between the worlds of media and finance, long before Krubich, the chief executive of Malka, and Frommer, its chairman, officially start working together.

Malka said it generated more than one million pieces of content in 2021, and its digital content has grown six-fold in the year leading up to its acquisition. The company has produced six feature-length documentaries, over 30 digital series and over 1,000 live broadcasts to date. His talent pool includes more than 30 professional athletes and his clients include Netflix Inc., Showtime, Amazon Studios and many more in TV, cinema, streaming and social media. Malka told the Business Journal that she is building customer loyalty at a rate of 99%.

Malka has grown from three employees to 170 since its inception in 2012, and it plans to hire at least 30 more people in early 2022.

In its presentation to investors of the acquisition, the company planned more than
$ 25 million in revenue in 2021, and Krubich said that figure was the result of 50% to 100% growth every year since the company launched. Krubich and Frommer have continued to lead the day-to-day operations since the acquisition.

Origin story

Malka, named after Krubich’s Hebrew name, was founded when he was working in production at MTV hiring companies to create the kind of content Malka would eventually deliver. Frommer, a classmate of Krubich at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, was an associate vice president of software company Adobe Inc. when he wrote a check that helped Krubich land some of his initial investments.

Their plan was to merge Krubich’s production experience with Frommer’s business acumen, and their timing couldn’t have been more fortuitous; An influx of inexpensive and easy-to-use equipment during this era, from digital SLR cameras to editing software, allowed them to target customers whose needs existed outside of traditional media and promotional models.

“When companies and brands started to see a need within their own organizations for content and assets, be it public assets, internal assets, sales assets, things business-to-business, business-to-business needs, we were able to do it on a large scale, ”Krubich said.

Frommer added, “There is a motto that we try to stick to, which is that the value of the story is not in the quality of the production but in the quality of the story. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to tell a great story, but you need to be nimble enough that when something happens that your brand needs to be a part of, you need to be able to engage in that conversation.

The co-founders said they recognize that entering the content production space will now be a much different challenge, given that smartphones have allowed users to photograph, illuminate, color and edit content. on a single portable device. But when Malka launched, it immediately stood out by being more financially and logistically nimble than older production companies which, at the time, applied more traditional Hollywood methodologies, like spending six weeks and $ 100,000 to create 30-second content that would go on Snapchat and then disappear.

With one of the company’s first large clients, Showtime Sports, Frommer and Krubich have demonstrated their ability to not only create content quickly, but also enable clients to participate in a trending conversation. Covering the basic event formalities to help promote Showtime’s weekly boxing events, Malka was quickly able to grow her deliverables from short promotional videos they called “workout pornography” to a list that now includes a Unlimited broadcast and a regular live broadcast of each press conference and weigh in.

Content sectors

Krubich and Frommer insist that they would ultimately have added cryptocurrency and real estate content as verticals alongside the company’s sports, comedy, health and wellness content, regardless of the acquisition of Malka by MoneyLion.

But the acquisition gave Malka additional funding and infrastructure to grow on a scale it couldn’t reach when Krubich and Frommer were seeding young entrepreneurs. In addition to supporting its new owners, the company saw the merger as an opportunity to innovate with content in another space where it didn’t exist or where, at least, it wasn’t originally yet. vital cultural conversations.

“When you have NFTs bought for hundreds of thousands of dollars and the majority of people in this country don’t understand what it is, more stories need to be told and more education needs to exist,” said Krubich.

“If you think creators are running the business and the next generation doesn’t believe in the existing financial infrastructure, and they’re being educated by people on TikTok and Snapchat and Twitter and podcasts, then for a bank digital can to deliver better financial decision making, you really have to be part of that creative market, ”added Krubich.

Frommer explained that he does not see Malka’s focus as being limited to promoting new financial products such as NFTs or cryptocurrency, but rather promoting financial literacy for members of a generation. who does not understand their infrastructure or who is disillusioned with the legacy institutions.

“For this next generation of hard-working Americans, where are they going to be educated? ” He asked. “Where do they go to learn things in an organized place where I feel like I don’t eat my broccoli, I have fun while I learn?” “

He cited the success of “Miss Excel” social media creator Kat Norton. Frommer estimated that Norton made over $ 1 million by teaching him over 569,000 followers on Instagram and over 705,000 followers on TikTok to use the spreadsheet while dancing in short videos. Malka’s client Matt Gresia, whose tagline is “Helping You Understand All About Money,” has more than 3.8 million subscribers on TikTok alone.

Frommer has a self-produced “show network” covering a variety of topics as part of the company’s future plans – an initiative that gives “creators a platform and a voice to live in an omnichannel world.” But it’s the interdependence of Malka’s content that he says keeps the company ahead of the curve and part of the cultural conversation.

“What we’ve done has always been at the forefront of agile storytelling, whether it’s in Hollywood, for digital, or (user-generated content) for endemic social channels,” Frommer said. “How can we participate more quickly in this conversation?” Everything has to be collaborative if we want to produce things at the speed of culture. So brands today need a variety of needs, and they need a partner who has them all.

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