What: Vox Media is aiming to raise US $40 million to expand its business.
Why is it important: Reliable online-only publications are attracting an ever-increasing investor interest, as they are becoming the go-to sources for news and advice on several topics.
Washington, D.C.-based digital media company Vox Media is one of the fastest growing online publishers, focused on the sports, personal technology and gaming categories, as described by CrunchBase. Its three brands are SB Nation, one of the largest sports-blogging communities on the Web; tech/gadgets site The Verge, and gaming site Polygon.
Yesterday, word came out that it had filed documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, so as to raise US $4o million in a new funding round which was reportedly led by Accel Partners. Vox Media has previously raised more than US $20 million from backers such as Comcast and Khosla Ventures.
According to Venture Beat, Vox Media has revealed plans to expand its video business for various sites and connected TV applications. In May, The Verge added a new video channel and brought on Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian as a regular host. Vox added an in-house agency earlier this year to sell sponsorship for this series.
Vox is also planning to use the funding to broaden its editorial coverage across various sites. It will now produce more reported videos and cover business topics beyond its usual social media news and gadget reviews.
Part of the model here at Vox is building a media company that’s equal parts magazine and news publisher and equal parts video producer and publisher… We are seeking to create an experience that feels as much like TV programming as magazine publishing.
–Jim Bankoff, CEO, Vox Media
As reported by AdAge, The Verge, one of Vox’s brands, has already gained ground on its closest competitors. According to comScore, at 5.62 million unique visitors in September –compared to 425,000 in its first month after launching– it has gathered a larger audience than competitors AOL-owned sites TechCrunch (5.21 million) and Engadget (5.04 million), as well as Condé Nast’s Wired.com (5.06 million). However, it lags behind Gawker’s Gizmodo.com, which reached 8.39 million visitors that same month.
By comparison, SB Nation received 8.84 million unique visitors in September, and Polygon attracted 947,000, per comScore. Across desktop and mobile web in August, Vox’s three properties spanned 18.88 million visitors, though that doesn’t account for people who may have checked out two or more of the sites that month.
Says VentureBeat that industry experts are already speculating whether Vox Media will go public, as it would be very expensive (probably too expensive) to acquire. Vox Media chief executive Jim Bankoff told Ad Age that the company is more focused at present on building out its product, and “executing on our plans.”