The future favors digital media — and the tide is turning even faster than we thought it would.
Vox, the company that just hired PR vet Fay Sliger of VICE and High10 Media to run its comms operations, has some good news on a day that includes plenty of bad news for journalism at large.
First, Vox (which includes The Verge, Eater, Racked and more in addition to the main site run by Ezra Klein) announced today that it raised $45.6 million from New York investment firm General Atlantic and that the new cash infusion brings its estimated value up to $400 million.
Most observers see the success of Vox and competitors like Mashable and BuzzFeed as a definitive sign that the media has almost found its new sustainable model.
Some other facts: BuzzFeed, which recently raised $50M, is valued at more than twice the Vox total despite the fact that, according to Re\code, the companies report similar traffic numbers — and some see Vox as a more traditionally journalistic venture.
The Re\code piece notes that Vox CEO Jim Bankoff “expects to turn a profit in 2015” despite employing a “giant” staff of more than 350. Bankoff celebrated the announcement today by publishing it on LinkedIn, writing:
“Simply put, our seven media brands have become preferred choices for a new generation of audiences across sports, tech lifestyle, news, gaming, food/dining, fashion and real estate/home.”
How did they get there? According to Bankoff, the successful equation values quality content over data and the endless search for traffic.
This is particularly big news given the recent announcement that top tech reporter Nitasha Tiku of Valleywag will join The Verge this month. It’s also important in context. This morning, Capital New York reported on the state of newsrooms around the country:
- The total number of full-time daily newspaper journalists has dropped to 36,700 from a 2008 high of 55,000.
In short, the number of journalists is shrinking as the PR/media gap grows wider. And more of the media contacts you need to know now work for names like Vox, Fusion, and BuzzFeed.