The legacy content marketing business of Federated Media Publishing, and its brand name, have been sold to LIN Digital Media LLC, a digital marketing firm and division of Austin-based LIN Media.

The content marketing business under Federated Media was the direct sales, agency-focused operation that helped brands build content products for marketing campaigns—sponsored blog posts, video and Pinterest boards, for example. That was part of the original model Federated Media grew up on since its launch in 2005.

The programmatic portion of the business, which emerged out of the 2011 acquisition of Lijit Networks, along with the publisher network, will be spun off as an independent entity called sovrn.

The programmatic business surpassed the content marketing operation in revenues in the first quarter of 2013 and "began taking off like a rocket," says Walter Knapp, the former COO of Federated Media and new CEO of sovrn.

Federated Media CEO and founder John Battelle will become executive chairman of sovrn.

According to the company, revenues grew 93 percent from 2012 to 2013. The publisher platform includes about 20,000 publishers representing more than 2 million websites and by the end of last year weekly payouts to the publishers were reaching $2 million.

"What makes me so excited about the deal is we found a great home for the content marketing business, and we’re taking all the proceeds and plowing them back into where we’re seeing all the growth on the publisher platform," says Knapp.

Going forward, Knapp says new tools and services will be developed to allow publishers to gain better insights into how brands view them as a marketing opportunity and produce or curate more content that aligns with those perceptions.

The technology supporting the programmatic operation will also be built out, says Knapp. "We’ve begun the expansion from display into video and mobile and we’ll continue to expand into other formats and monetization opportunities," he says.