Medium Spins Off 'Matter,' Creates Storytelling Company

Online blogging and publishing platform Medium is spinning off Matter, its online magazine focused on science issues, as an independent “incubator” company focused on creative online storytelling called Matter Studios, the company announced Monday.

The company will be owned entirely by Twitter co-founder and Medium CEO Evan Williams, who is making a “seven figure” investment and will also serve as chairman of the stand-alone company.

Matter was founded in 2012 by Bobbie Johnson, who previously wrote for Gigaom, and his partner Jim Giles; it was acquired by Medium in 2013. In its new iteration as Matter Studios, it will seek to encourage new approaches to digital media, according to Johnson, who wrote in a blog post on Medium.



In practice that means working with media entrepreneurs and providing “financing and creative support to develop different media products under their own brands, from multiplatform digital journalism, to podcasts and books, to live events, to streaming film, TV, and video, to new things we haven’t thought of yet.”

Johnson added: “Matter won’t even be a publication, not anymore, or a publisher, not precisely. We’ve been describing it as sort of a studio and sort of an incubator.”

On the editorial side, Matter Studios is led by Mark Lotto and Hillary Frey as co-creative officers. (Lotto and Frey are married to each other.).Frey previously served as an executive editor and director of global news at Fusion, the cable channel and online publisher launched by ABC and Univision to target a millennial multicultural audience. 

Meanwhile, Medium is preparing to introduce some sweeping changes, including a new monetization strategy that will probably focus on sponsored content, otherwise known as native advertising, according to a recent interview Williams gave to the BBC. Williams also said that Medium is considering paid content options, including subscriptions, online paywalls or paid memberships.

Big names in journalism are also cropping up on Medium. Last month, sportswriter Bill Simmons announced that he is joining forces with Medium to launch his new online sports publication, The Ringer.

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