Digital Pluses: Vox, Business Insider Finish 2017 Strong

In memos to their respective staffs, Henry Blodget, editorial director of Business Insider, and Jim Bankoff, Vox Media Chairman and CEO, addressed each company’s performance during 2017 — and business is good.

Celebrating a decade of publishing, Business Insider came off a particularly big year in 2017, where it expanded its team to 330 journalists this year, which includes 80 through license partners. But the bigger numbers came from audience growth.

After rebuilding platforms like subscription, video players and image-management systems in 2017, the publication was able to speed up its pages and also support its increasing scale. As a result, revenue grew by 45%. Blodget said revenue is being split three ways, through advertising, subscription and licensing.



He cited the publication’s subscriber network, BI Prime, as a success in its first year.

Views were up, with Business Insider counting an audience of 400 million people globally and generating 5 billion views a month. Citing comScore, the publication reports an “on-site audience” that grew by 144 million unique views alone.

The company also moved to new headquarters in New York this year, giving it space to experiment and expand.

“Some trends in our industry remain challenging, but as we demonstrated last year, we are up to these challenges,” Blodget stated.

Vox Media’s CEO Jim Bankoff took his moment addressing staff to also note Facebook’s recent changes.

Bankoff stated: “As of now, Facebook does not offer a viable path to monetize our in-depth video work. The Facebook newsfeed is, however, an important promotional platform for programmers upon which to be discovered. While it’s unpredictable, we are optimistic that changes to the feed algorithm which will favor both trusted and local journalism will mean that even more people will be exposed to our work.”

Areas where the company has seen growth included double-digit increases in audience numbers across all of Vox Media’s properties, year-over-year. SB Nation has grown by 31%, The Verge by 86%, Polygon by 61%, Vox by 21%, Eater by 26%, Rackedby 42%, Curbed by 42% and Recode by 33%.

According to Bankoff’s memo, comScore records Vox’s domestic audience as being “larger than any other content company that has started in the past decade.” As a result of a large, robust audience across all websites and media platforms, including partnerships, Vox claims it is not dependent on any one singular outlet.

The company also announced new partnerships with programming platforms like Netflix, PBS and MSBC during the last quarter of 2017.

Bankoff added that some scaling back will be required as the company moves forward and fine tunes its areas of success. He ended his memo addressing the present state of media: ‘Fake news and fake views are out. Trust, engaged communities, authentic voices and financial discipline are in. This all plays to our strengths.”

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