12/06/2018

Hard Times: Left-Wing New Media Look To Mergers, Paywalls, Selling Companies

John Nolte, Breitbart

Vice, Vox, BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and other left-wing digital outlets are struggling in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

While smaller left-wing outlets, like Mic, Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter, Refinery29, Rookie, and the anti-Trump Weekly Standard are either closed, closing, or going through massive overhauls to stop the bleeding of red ink, the big players on the left – the aforementioned Vice, Vox, and Buzzfeed – no longer look like sure things.

Even HuffPost is looking at adding a paywall.

Vanity Fair writes that these “companies, which once heralded the dawn of a new media age—replete with massive valuations, large fund-raising hauls, and millennial sex appeal—now appeared to exhibit some traits of the brands that they once attempted to disrupt.”

Today they find themselves “large, less nimble, and increasingly vulnerable to Facebook and Google. They seemed virtually encircled by competitors familiar and new.”

“On one side” up-and-comers like “Axios, TheSkimm, Crooked Media, and the Athletic” are smaller, but have so far avoided relying on Facebook and Google “by monetizing their direct relationships with consumers.”

On the other side are “revitalized shit-kicking legacy players, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, who were converting subscribers at unforeseen levels in the Trump era.”

Of course, this is all about ad revenue, which Facebook and Google continue to try to swallow whole.

As a result, “BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti recently floated in the pages of The New York Times the quixotic notion of a multi-company merger between BuzzFeed, Vice, Vox Media, Group Nine Media, and Refinery29, as a means to rival the Facebook-Google ad duopoly.”

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