Vox Media, fueled by $30 million in VC funding, is building an engine for next-generation content. The ingredients are a clear vertical focus, low cost digital-only content, highly social. In Vox’s case, no paywall and fully ad-supported. The numbers:
- 320 separate community-oriented sites under the SB Nation banner, most focused on a single team, with a unique URL, like http://www.bigblueview.com/ for the New York Giants.
- 800 paid bloggers, who I presume are fueled by their team passion more then money.
- 9.4 million unique visitors, half which return 20x each month, growing at 20% per year. A fraction of what espn.com gets, but the trend is positive.
- Direct sales force of 25 people, focused on premium CPM sales to big national brands.
- Proprietary CMS called Chorus: supports robust commenting and forums, and links sites with databases on teams and players.
- A new technology site launched in 2011, The Verge, is up to 3 million monthly uniques, and is reported to be profitable.
- Revenues of $25 million, reportedly at breakeven now.
- Valuation of $140 million, based on most recent round. Accel Partners is lead VC, with additional funding from Comcast Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Allen & Company, Providence Equity Partners, and Ashton Kutcher. CEO is Jim Bankoff, headquartered in Washington, D.C.