Passionflix, a romance-focused streaming service run by Elon Musk’s sister, Tosca Musk, has raised $9.4 million in a funding round led by AMC Networks.
The influx of funding was reported Wednesday in a filing with the SEC, but the individual investors were not named.
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AMC Networks’ multimillion-dollar minority stake was confirmed by a person familiar with the transaction, but AMC Networks did not disclose it in its own filing. The company had no comment when contacted by Deadline. Under SEC rules, investments labeled as “material” must be reported by public companies, so the fact that AMC did not disclose it indicates the modest size of the transaction in the overall scheme of things. Still, AMC Networks has previously invested in entities such as RLJ Entertainment and streaming outlet Acorn and has continued to gain full control of them over time.
The focused approach and modest footprint of Passionflix, which has just six employees, fits AMC Networks’ niche streaming operation. The company operates a portfolio of narrowly focused services like Shudder, Sundance Now, and Allblk.
In an article on Passionflix in June, the New York Times described the service as “sort of a sexy Hallmark channel”. Since its launch in 2017, the company had raised $22 million before the last round. Besides being CEO of Passionflix, Tosca Musk also directs some of his original films.
Other investors in Passionflix include Norman Lear and First Look Media, a production entity and parent company of Topic Studios and streaming service Topic.
“We fully understand that we are walking at the feet of elephants,” said Michael Bloom, CEO of First Look. Time, referring to the handful of mainstream streamers like Netflix and Disney+, which account for more than three-quarters of the total streaming market. “But we’re not trying to be them. There is an opportunity for specialty services like Passionflix to superserve a particular audience in a way that large traditional retailers do not.
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