Cracked first gained fame in the 1950s, when it competed with Mad Magazine in the humor periodical space. More recently, since its 2007 sale to Demand, it has been reinvented as a humor website. Its most defining feature, in its current form, is its penchant for highly-clickable listicles that combine comedy with fun facts. In recent years, it has also built up a video presence as well, thanks to a deal with CollegeHumor and the launch of a production wing called Cracked Studios.
Scripps has old-school roots of its own. In the 20th century, it was best known for distributing newspapers in more than a dozen markets. It eventually expanded its business to include local TV and radio stations as well as, eventually, digital content. In 2015, it launched a content production unit called Scripps Lifestyle Studios, and with its Cracked acquisition, it is specifically targeting over-the-top devices as one potential growth area.
“There is a ton of evidence that humor is the lens through which millennials see the news,” Scripps CEO Adam Symson told Variety. “Younger audiences are faced with expanding choice, but they are just as interested in knowing what’s going on in the world and they want to be informed and entertained at the same time.”
In addition to Cracked, Scripps also owns social news service Newsy thanks to a 2013 acquisition. Demand’s remaining properties include eHow and Livestrong.