Cheezburger founder Ben Huh has hired a major-league digital media veteran to help lead the quirky online humor company and seek new distribution deals.
Cheezburger today announced that its new chief operating officer and president is Scott Moore, former general manager of MSN and head of media at Yahoo, forming partnerships with Los Angeles area entertainment companies. Earlier Moore was president of MSNBC.com and publisher of Slate. Most recently he has been chief digital officer of London-based hibu.
Huh said Moore is uniquely qualified to help the Seattle-based company work with big media companies on distribution partnerships, either to distribute Cheezburger content on their sites or to use the Cheezburger platform to reach new audiences with their content.
“What we want to do is have those conversations about distribution,” Huh said.
Cheezburger has had executive shuffles over the last year, including the departure of former Chief Technology Officer Scott Porad last fall. Huh has also been building a San Francisco-based news venture called Circa but he said that’s not a major distraction.
The bigger issue for Huh is that he travels often to do promotions and sales.
“This really allows me to have somebody in the office who is running the office,” Huh said.
Cheezburger sites have seen a decline in traffic over the last year but still drew 7 million people who viewed 126.2 million pages last month, according to Quantcast. Huh said those stats aren’t capturing all of the company’s traffic through mobile apps and its overall traffic “is still incredibly large.”
The five-year-old company now has about 40 employees and has not yet turned a profit.
“We’re pretty close but not yet,” Huh said.
Moore said he wanted to move to a smaller, more entrepreneurial company and he likes the team, the investors and the potential of the online humor category, which grew 23 percent last year.
Humor is less crowded and “not dominated by a few established brands the way that news is and sports is and a few other categories in digital media,” he said.
Moore said emerging comedy talent is a type of content that can be added to the company’s platform and grow the business.
“The potential to add new content – both professionally created content as well as semi professional – and even amateur content is something Cheezburger has a huge chance to do,” he said.