Vox Media

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Not to be confused with VOX (TV channel).
Vox Media Inc.
Vox Media logo.svg
Type Private
Founded 2003 (2003)[1]
Headquarters Washington, D.C. & New York City, New York [2]
Area served International
Key people

Jim Bankoff [3]

Marty Moe
Jerome Armstrong
Tyler Bleszinski
Markos Moulitsas
Industry Digital Media
Employees 400 +
Website www.voxmedia.com
Alexa rank Decrease 31,691 (April 2014)[4]
Type of site News, Media and blogging
Registration Optional
Users 150 million +
Available in English

Vox Media Inc. is an American digital media company that currently has eight editorial brands: SB Nation, The Verge, Polygon, Curbed, Eater, Racked, Vox and Re/code. All Vox Media sites are built on Chorus, its proprietary digital publishing platform.[5]

Vox Media, Inc. is headquartered in Washington, DC and New York, New York [2] with offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, and San Francisco. Founded in 2003 as SportsBlogs, Inc., by political strategist Jerome Armstrong,[6] freelance writer Tyler Bleszinski, and Markos Moulitsas (creator of Daily Kos), the network now features over 300 sites with over 400 paid writers.[7][8]

Vox Media, Inc. is led by Chairman and CEO Jim Bankoff.[9][10]

Media brands[edit]

Vox Media Inc. is made up of eight media brands: The Verge (technology and culture), Vox (general interest news), SB Nation (sports), Polygon (gaming), Eater (Food and Nightlife), Racked (shopping, beauty and fashion), Curbed (real estate and home), and Re/code (technology business).[11][12][13]

History[edit]

Vox Media was formerly known as SportsBlogs Inc., the parent company of the sports blog network SB Nation. The site was a spin-off and expansion of Tyler Bleszinski's Oakland Athletics blog Athletics Nation, which sought to provide coverage of the team from a fan's perspective. The popularity of the site led to him partnering with fellow blogger Markos Moulitsas to form the SB Nation network, which acquired other sports blogs to incorporate into it.[14]

In 2008, SB Nation hired former AOL executive Jim Bankoff as CEO to assist in its growth. He showed interest in SB Nation's goal of building a network of niche-oriented sports websites.[14][15] As of February 2009, the SB Nation network contained 185 blogs, and in November 2010, ComScore estimated that the site had attracted 5.8 million unique visitors. The 208 percent increase in unique visitors over November 2009 made SB Nation the fastest-growing sports website the company tracked at the time.[16]

In 2011, Bankoff hired a number of former writers from AOL's technology blog Engadget, including former editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky, to build a new technology-oriented website.[14] They had originally left AOL following a series of conflicts between Topolsky and Michael Arrington, author of TechCrunch (which AOL had recently acquired), and the leak of an internal training document that outlined a content strategy for AOL's blogs that prioritized profitability. Bankoff felt that a technology-oriented website would compliment SB Nation due to its overlapping demographics.[15] In November 2011, the company, now renamed Vox Media, officially launched The Verge, with Topolsky as editor-in-chief.[15][17]

In 2012, Vox launched a video gaming website, Polygon, led by former Joystiq editor Christopher Grant.[18]

In November 2013, Vox Media acquired the Curbed network, which consisted of the real-estate blog network Curbed, the food blog Eater, and the fashion blog Racked.[19]

In April 2014, the company launched an eponymous news website, Vox.com; led by former Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, Vox.com was positioned as a general interest news service with a focus on providing additional context to recurring subjects within its articles.[20][21]

In May 2015, during a conference organized by the site, Vox Media announced its acquisition of Re/code, a technology industry news website that was founded by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, the former editors of The Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD.[22]

In August 2015, NBCUniversal made a $200 million equity investment Vox Media, commending its "strong leadership, top editorial talent and a unique technology platform."[23]

Funding[edit]

In December 2014, Vox Media raised a $46.5 million round led by the growth equity firm General Atlantic, estimating the media company’s value at around $380 million.[24] Participants in Vox Media’s previous rounds include Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures, and Khosla Ventures. Other funders are Allen & Company, Providence Equity Partners, and various angel investors, including Ted Leonsis, Dan Rosensweig, Jeff Weiner, and Brent Jones.[8][25][26] According to sources, the Series C in May 2012, valued Vox at $140 million.[27] A Series D valued the company north of $200M, raising an additional $40M[28][29]

In August 2015, NBCUniversal made a $200 million equity investment in Vox Media Inc., valuing the company at more than $1 billion.[30]

Networks[edit]

SBNation.com is a sports network focuses on developing content on the web, offering over 300[31] websites, each with its own name, URL, brand, community focus, writers, and guidelines. The sports network covers most or all teams in MLB, the NBA, NFL, MLS, and NHL, as well as NASCAR, MMA, college sports, pro cycling, and other sports.

At a DC-based kickoff event in February 2009, there were about 185 blogs. ComScore, the Reston, Virginia-based tracker of consumer Internet habits, tallied 5.8 million unique visitors to SB Nation Web sites during the month of November 2010. That 208 percent increase over the 1.9 million unique visitors in November 2009 made SB Nation the fastest growing sports Web site the company tracked at the time.[32] As of December 2010, SB Nation had 12 million unique visitors and over 100 million page views monthly, according to CEO Jim Bankoff. Expansion includes mobile and going global, into the "European Premier (soccer) League." [33] As of March 2011, Vox Media's SB Nation had grown to more than 300 separate web sites maintained primarily by part-time contract writers. They put together posts, facilitate dialogue and interact with commenters. As of November 2012, ComScore reported that there were 130 million people in the U.S. who accessed sports news online in October. ESPN's 45 million unique visitors still exceeded SB Nation’s 9.4 million, but ESPN lost 5 million visitors year-over-year, while SB Nation grew by 20%.[27] As of June 2013, Vox says that SB Nation has reached 50 million unique visitors per month and 190 million monthly page views, and has more than 70,000 Twitter followers (@SBNation) and almost 67,000 likes on Facebook.[34]

In February 2011, SB Nation hired Rob Neyer away from ESPN, where he had worked for 15 years in what CEO Jim Bankoff called a "high profile hire".[35] On March 30, 2011 SB Nation launched Baseball Nation.[36] Baseball Nation features writers Jason Brannon, Carson Cistulli, editors Rob Neyer, Jeff Sullivan and Grant Brisbee.

The Verge[edit]

Main article: The Verge

The Verge is a technology news and media network operated by Vox Media with offices in Manhattan, New York. The site launched on November 1, 2011. The network publishes news items, long form feature stories, product reviews, podcasts, and an entertainment show. The network's content is managed by its editor-in-chief Nilay Patel and Vox Media's chief content officer Marty Moe.[37]

Joshua Topolsky was the editor of Engadget until March 2011. Topolsky and eight of the more prominent editorial and technology staff members (including Nilay Patel, Ross Miller, Joanna Stern, Chris Ziegler, Paul Miller, Vlad Savov, Justin Glow, and Dan Chilton) at Engadget left AOL to join SB Nation to build a new tech and gadget site.[38] While Topolsky and his team were developing the new site, a 'placeholder' site called This Is My Next was created to allow them to continue writing articles and producing podcasts.[39] In a reference to the new website Topolsky is quoted as saying, “We’re not trying to be Twitter or Facebook, as in this new thing people are using, we want to be something that is just the evolved version of what we have been doing.” [40] The new technology network—The Verge—launched on November 1, 2011.[41][42] It was also announced that Scott Lowe, from IGN Tech, would be joining Vox.

The Verge launched in November 2011. One year later in October 2012, comScore reported that The Verge had 3.1 million unique U.S. visitors. Gawker Media’s Gizmodo, by comparison, had 6.5 million unique visits, and AOL’s Engadget, had 6.3 million.[43]

Polygon[edit]

Main article: Polygon (website)

In early January 2012, Vox hired Chris Grant, editor-in-chief of Joystiq, to launch a new gaming site with Vox. Also hired were Brian Crecente, editor-in-chief of Kotaku, and Russ Pitts, editor-in-chief of The Escapist, to run the site, along with Justin and Griffin McElroy, Chris Plante, Arthur Gies, and Russ Frushtick, and Tracey Lien and Emily Gera for the roles of Senior Reporter, Australia & Senior Reporter, UK, respectively.[citation needed]

Vox, which had previously stated that "Vox Games" was merely a placeholder until the project was ready to separate itself from being a Gaming hub on The Verge to a fully-fledged independent website, revealed on April 6, 2012, that the gaming site would be named Polygon.[44] On October 25, 2012 Polygon launched under its own name.[45] The site features responsive web design (which SB Nation has had since its relaunch in mid-2012) and long feature articles.

Curbed[edit]

Main article: Curbed

Curbed is a real-estate/home website that reaches beyond New York City to publish in 32 markets across the U.S. It was founded in 2004 as a side project by Lockhart Steele, managing editor of Gawker Media. Curbed was bought by Vox Media when the company acquired Curbed Network in November 2013 for $20–30 million in cash and stock.[46] In addition to the national site, Curbed has local sites for Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Cape Cod, Chicago, Detroit, Hamptons, New York City, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Ski. The Editor in Chief is Kelsey Keith.

Eater[edit]

Eater, founded by Lockhart Steele, and led by editor-in-chief Amanda Kludt, is a media brand dedicated to culinary news. The Eater staff makes news and breaks news daily with reporting on the latest restaurant openings in cities and current dining trends across the nation.[47] Often known for their "Heat Maps" and "38 Best New Restaurants" franchises,[48] Acquired by Vox Media Inc., in 2013 Eater went through a site relaunch [46] in 2014 to become part of the Vox Media's Chorus platform. The migration to the new CMS enable Eater to increase it's editorial focus on visuals, original reporting and integrated map stacks ("Heat Maps").[49]

Racked[edit]

Racked is a retail/shopping website which covers style. It was bought by Vox Media when the company acquired Curbed Network in November 2013.[46] In December 2014, the site had 11.2 million page views and 8 million unique visitors.[50] In addition to the national site, Racked has local sites for Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and San Francisco.[51] The Editor in Chief is Leslie Price.[52]

Vox[edit]

Main article: Vox (website)

In January 2014, Vox announced it had hired Ezra Klein, who formerly served as the editor of the Washington Post's WonkBlog, to be the founder of a new website covering news and politics, codenamed "Project X" and later adopting the simple name Vox. Klein explained in an announcement on The Verge that he felt that current news websites did not provide enough context to the stories they cover, and that he aimed to create a news website that would be "as good at explaining the world as it is at reporting on it".[53][54] Project X officially launched as Vox on April 6, 2014; its goal is to cover stories dynamically without succumbing to the "incremental" coverage used by traditional outlets, and to "[deliver] crucial context alongside new information" through "cards" that can be accessed through highlighted words within articles.

Klein serves as editor-in-chief of Vox; among its initial staff members are his colleagues from the Post, including Melissa Bell, Matthew Yglesias, and Dylan Matthews.[53][55]

Commenting on the project as it was announced, Reuters' Jack Shafer said

"The velocity of the Web rewards the swift and those with new ideas. But in the long term, neither Klein’s remarkable talents nor Vox’s remarkable technology will be sufficient to build a sustaining moat for their partnership. Not to disparage Klein and Vox, but anything they can do can probably be done cheaper and maybe even better by somebody else... Vox had better be prepared for a long, hard slog."[56]

Re/code[edit]

Vox Media acquired technology news website Re/code in May 2015.[57]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]