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2016 Year in Review Vox Media

Vox Media

Vox Media's 2016 Year in Review

Vox Media thrives on change, which in 2016 meant deploying smart growth strategies to reach millions of people on dozens of platforms. This year, Vox Media rose to the challenge and was named an Inc. Company of the Year in the process. We prioritized partnerships and video (our strongest area of growth), developed a new division dedicated to storytelling and experimentation, and added more than 300 people to the Vox Media team.

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Video  Partnerships  Diversity and Culture

  • Inc.: CEO Jim Bankoff has grown a series of sports blogs into one of the largest new-media organizations around. In 2016, Vox Media tackled video in a big way.

  • Wall Street Journal: Partnership touting fast-loading, custom ads follows NBCUs $200 million investment in Vox Media

  • Inc.: This year, the company made video a major priority. And Vox Media is killing it. As of late October, it has logged 1.1 billion watch time minutes on YouTube.

  • New York Times: Melissa Bell named Publisher of Vox Media

quote

8

media brands

170 million

unique monthly visitors

Over 800 million

total monthly content views

Over 1.5 billion

minutes watched on YouTube in 2016

800+

employees

Our Audiences

2 out of 3

users come to us on mobile

78%

college educated

41%

household income $100K+

Inc. Named Vox Media a Company of the Year

Inc. called 2016 "a breakout year for Vox Media and its online video strategy" and named Vox Media a Company of the Year, rising from a sports blog into a multimillion-dollar media company.

Read more from Inc.

Concert Launched as Largest Premium-Quality Marketplace

Created with NBCUniversal, this industry-leading partnership pairs Vox Media’s smart ad products with premium-quality content to offer brand marketers high-value audiences. In less than a year, Concert boasts more than 40 brand partners, an audience reach that includes 88% of all millennials online, and 20 mobile ad formats that live across 26 sites as well as on Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP.

Read more from the wall street journal

Vox Media’s Pitch to Brand Advertisers

Vox Media hosted its annual day-long presentation for hundreds of advertisers in New York City, unveiling a broad slate of initiatives spanning digital, mobile, and advertising capabilities, plus Vox Media’s first television brand extension. The event also featured surprise talent and performers including Questlove, Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants, Luis Ortiz from Bravo TV's Million Dollar Listing, and hip-hop violinist Damien Escobar.

Read more from Adweek

Bankoff Named to the Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful List

Vox Media Chairman and CEO Jim Bankoff earned a spot on the Hollywood Reporter's list of the 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media. "THR's sixth annual list of the press' most potent voices" recognized the company’s 2015 acquisition of Recode and strategic investment from NBCUniversal. (Plus Bankoff’s favorite apps.)

Read more from the hollywood reporter

Melissa Bell Named Vox Media’s Publisher

Melissa Bell, Vox co-founder and former VP of Growth, was named Vox Media’s publisher, overseeing a new Growth & Development team, combining analytics, growth, partner platforms, and a new Storytelling Studio.

Read more from the new york times

Company Values, Inclusion Report Released

Vox Media defined, curated, and published the Vox Media Values and the Diversity & Inclusion Report to make public who we are as a company, what we look for in recruiting talent, and how it fosters our workplace diversity. This year, our efforts were recognized with a 95/100 rating from the Human Rights Campaign for LGBTQ-inclusive workplaces, a sign that the Vox Media workplace continues to evolve in meaningful, inclusive ways for a growing staff.

See the Vox MEdia Values

New TV Series From FYI and Vox Entertainment

Vox Entertainment, Vox Media’s Los Angeles-based programming and development division, and FYI, a division of the A+E Networks, announced a deal to produce a new home genre series about prefabricated homes called Prefabulous. The new show — the company’s first-ever brand extension to television — will be produced by Vox Entertainment and Curbed.

Read more from The Hollywood Reporter

Vox Media Revealed Meridian

In partnership with Chase Sapphire Reserve, Vox Media launched Meridian, a beautiful digital travel experience that tells the undiscovered stories of a new destination each month. Through narrative-driven videos, photography, and personal essays, Meridian's storytelling offers a unique perspective for the adventurous and sophisticated young traveler.

Read more from the Wall Street Journal

Four Vox Media Brands Get Refreshed

Four Vox Media brands — Recode, Curbed, Racked, and The Verge — enjoyed relaunches in 2016, premiering fresh new looks, refocused editorial strategies, evolved visuals, and faster load times for audiences across every platform.

Code Conference 2016 Made Headlines

Code Conference — Recode’s annual invitation-only event — brings together top influencers for conversations on the current and future impact of digital technology. In 2016, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher attracted an especially impressive group that included Jeff Bezos, Bill and Melinda Gates, Sundar Pichai, Sheryl Sandberg, and Elon Musk — who made headlines when he declared there was a nearly 100% chance the world was a simulated reality.

Watch more from Code Conference 2016

Partners United to Hack Harassment Online

Intel, Vox Media, Recode, and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation partnered for a new initiative onstage at the Consumer Electronic Show: Hack Harassment. The ongoing effort encourages industry-wide action to fight online harassment and provide safer, more inclusive online experiences for everyone.

Read more from Fortune

Vox Media Hires First Commerce Editor

In 2016, Vox Media hired the first commerce editor to work across all eight editorial teams to optimize commerce content and incorporate product links, with the goal of increasing affiliate revenue. Most recently, this work focused on optimizing annual holiday gift guides from The VergeVoxPolygon, and Eater.

Read from the wall street journal

300 Employees, New Team Leaders Come Aboard

Along with adding 300 new employees across six offices, Vox Media welcomed new leaders across the company. We added a new board member, Susan Decker, and CFO Steve Swad, two editors in chief, Racked’s Britt Aboutaleb and Recode’s Dan Frommer; the first head of video Gavin Purcell; executive director of partner development Choire Sicha; executive director of experiential marketing Vanessa Fontanez; executive director of portfolio marketing Fernanda Pucheu; executive design director Ced Funches; design director of the new Storytelling Studio Kainaz Amaria; general manager of Vox Andrew Golis; and talent acquisition manager Jessica Jordan.

See Vox Media careers

Video

“This year, the company made video a major priority. And Vox Media is killing it,” Inc. raved in its recent profile of Vox Media. Over the past few years, each Vox Media brand has launched original video franchises in its own style — from Vox's "Observatory" with Joss Fong to SB Nation’s “MMA Hour” from MMA Fighting and Eater’s “Dining on a Dime.” Now, spearheaded by Gavin Purcell, the company’s creative approach to high-quality video storytelling has been kicked up a notch for 2017.

  • Inc.: This year, the company made video a major priority. And Vox Media is killing it.

  • The Hollywood Reporter: CEO Jim Bankoff says video is now one of the biggest pieces of the company's business and has become the significant investment area for the company.

  • Wall Street Journal: Vox Media Hires Choire Sicha to Oversee Partnerships With Facebook, Snapchat

quote

Over 2.5 billion

video views in 2016

1.6 billion

views on Facebook this year

Over 3.5 million

YouTube subscribers across Vox Media

Over 1.5 billion

minutes watched on YouTube in 2016

3X

increase in Facebook video views since 2015

Gavin Purcell Named First-Ever Head of Video

Described by CEO Jim Bankoff as "a rare breed who understands storytelling over multimedia," Gavin Purcell joined Vox Media to oversee video strategy for all eight editorial brands. The former Tonight Show producer now leads the company's major video program with a focus on developing talent, innovating, and reaching audiences off platform.

Read more from the hollywood reporter

Vox Hits 1.5 Million YouTube Subscribers

Vox grew its YouTube subscriber base by more than 400% in 2016! How? Going longer, deeper, and smarter than ever. From the dark side of the Rio Olympics to the rise of ISIS to rapping deconstructed and driving in the left lane, Vox is explaining the serious, weird, fun, and surprising and defying the old idea that video needs to be superficial and disposable to find an audience.

The Verge Breaks New Ground in VR, 360-Video Content

The Verge solidified its place at the forefront of VR and 360-degree content with two industry-wide firsts within a month’s time: Editor in chief Nilay Patel sat down with Michelle Obama in the White House for her first 360-degree video interview, which has been viewed more than 1.2 million times on Facebook alone; and The Verge broadcast the first live 360-video in the history of YouTube, showcasing a concert by the artist D∆WN.

Watch the verge's interview

"2016ish" Interviews a Prime Minister, Wins a Shorty

Liz Plank’s election video series "2016ish" on Vox earned both audience and award love this year, taking home a Shorty Award for News & Media and reaching millions on Facebook and YouTube. With wit and humor, Plank dissected the media, talked to voters, and even interviewed one dreamy Canadian prime minister.

Polygon’s Car Boys YouTube Series Launched

Take cars that crash in slow motion, mix in Polygon’s Nick Robinson and Griffin McElroy, and add a malevolent crash test dummy. If that excites you, then you’ll love this experimental show that tests the limits of physics, vehicular decency, and friendship. (Or try Polygon’s podcast Cool Games Inc., which inspired a game jam event in Seattle.)

Read more from Select All

Hundreds of Hours on Facebook Live

Across all eight brands, Vox Media created hundreds of hours of Facebook Live videos in the course of the year, with dozens of videos produced each week and millions of viewers tuning in. It's where Vox heard from voters throughout the election, SB Nation tested their sports knowledgePolygon told audiences if big new games and movies were worthwhile, and Racked toured new shops and tested cosmetics.

Partnerships

This year, Vox Media restructured and expanded our Growth & Development teams, dedicating talent to refining our approach to publishing on platforms such as Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat, Google AMP, and dozens of others. Choire Sicha has jumped headfirst into the noble task of trying to understand one of the most complex and fastest-changing parts of the industry: partner platforms.

  • Digiday: Vox Medias President Marty Moe on Going Beyond the Website

  • Digiday: Vox Media Chairman and CEO Jim Bankoff on Platforms and Ad Blocking

  • New York Daily News: Vox has the unique ability to stretch the boundaries of video engagement and experiment with longer videos on multiple platforms.

quote

Over 1.5 billion

minutes watched on YouTube in 2016

1.3 million

The Verge and Vox both passed 1.3 million Youtube subscribers

3X

Facebook video views more than tripled in 2016

2X

YouTube watch time more than doubled in 2016

Choire Sicha Leads Partnerships

Choire Sicha, Vox Media's first executive director of partner platforms, joined the company early this year to lead the new partnerships group within the Growth & Development division. Sicha is now "dedicated full-time to thinking about how we work with our partners and to finding ways to build stronger relationships with them," publisher Melissa Bell told the Wall Street Journal.

Read more from the wall street journal

Introducing Circuit Breaker, the World’s Best Gadget Blog

The launch of Circuit Breaker brought the best of classic gadget blogging into a new off-platform world. Created to be Facebook-first, "the world’s best gadget blog" covers fast-growing new categories like drones, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. It is known for viral short videos and short blog posts that regularly top popular subreddits.

Read more from the new york times

Snapchat Studio Debuts

Vox Media’s new Snapchat Studio launched to create special pop-up editions for Snapchat Discover across all eight of the Vox Media brands. Editions like Vox's "The Truth about Breakups" garnered tens of millions of views.

Read more from Nieman Lab

Vergecast Live at CES 2017, Only on Twitter

The Verge and Twitter announced a new partnership to produce and stream "Vergecast Live at CES 2017," three special live programs produced and hosted by The Verge from CES in Las Vegas and live-streamed exclusively on Twitter.

Learn more about Vergecast Live

Notifications Reach Millions of iPhone Users

Vox Media partnered with Apple for the launch of Apple News notifications with the debut of iOS 10. Notifications and stories from Vox, SB Nation, and The Verge now reach millions of iPhone users directly.

AMP

Vox Media Launches on Google AMP

This year, Vox Media launched on Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) across all eight of our brands. We now serve tens of millions on AMP’s lightweight and attractive mobile format each month.

Hundreds of Hours on Facebook Live

Across all eight brands, Vox Media created hundreds of hours of Facebook Live videos in the course of the year, with dozens of videos produced each week and millions of viewers tuning in. It's where Vox heard from voters throughout the election, SB Nation tested their sports knowledgePolygon told audiences if big new games and movies were worthwhile, and Racked toured new shops and tested cosmetics.

Screenshots of the newsletter on desktop and mobile.

More News, More Letters

Vox Media redesigned and began to relaunch newsletter programs across all eight brands. These updated newsletters reach hundreds of thousands of readers in the best mobile-friendly formats available.

Diversity and Culture

Vox Media believes that different backgrounds and perspectives shape a unique culture and inform the subjects we cover, the audiences we reach, and the products we build. Vox Media made good strides in diversifying our teams, educating our community, and creating a more inclusive workplace culture over the course of 2016 — and we look forward to doubling down on those efforts going forward.

  • Human Rights Campaign, Corporate Equality Index: 95/100

quote

300

new hires

800+

employees across 36 states and 5 countries

6

offices

voxmedia-company_values-header.0.jpeg

Published Vox Media Values

Leaders from across Vox Media came together to articulate the company's core values — those that define who we are as a company, what we look for in recruiting talent, and what we aim to foster and reward in our current employees.

See Vox Media's Values

Published First Diversity & Inclusion Report

Vox Media proudly published statistics on employee demographics to align with continued efforts to build an inclusive community. By publishing these metrics and updating them quarterly, the company actively participates in the important dialogue about improving workplace diversity and holds itself publicly accountable for making progress.

See the Diversity & Inclusion Report
IMG_6805.0.jpeg

Expanded Recruiting Partnerships and Outreach

This year, the People Operations Team added a Talent Acquisition group, expanding strategic recruiting efforts, which included establishing partnerships with Gallaudet University, Howard University, the Center in NYC, and the Asian American Journalists Association. The group was also a diamond sponsor of the NABJ/NAHJ Convention in DC — and looks forward to strengthening these relationships and building many more.

Training: ADA/Disability Justice, Unconscious Bias & Gender Awareness

Vox Media welcomed experts in unconscious bias, gender awareness, and the Americans With Disabilities Act to speak to the employee community and lead company-wide trainings. The company applied these learnings to strengthen our talent acquisition and development practices, and we continue to reinforce them through daily interactions with one another and the broader community.

Created Product Accessibility Guidelines

The Product and People Operations teams crafted a set of publicly available Accessibility Guidelines that provide comprehensive instructions on how to create accessible content and tools. These tools help teams across the company take steps toward ensuring that the content on our sites will be accessible to people with varying abilities.

See the Accessibility Guidelines

Added Transgender-Inclusive Health Care & All-Gender Bathrooms

As part of a series of efforts to be even more welcoming and inclusive to individuals of all genders, Vox Media added coverage of gender affirmation surgery to the company's medical insurance plan. We also introduced all-gender bathrooms in the offices where possible, as well as inclusive language to the doors of all Vox Media gendered bathrooms.

Alesha Randolph

Exciting Innovations at Vax Produced Tonr

At this year's Product Team offsite, Vax, a week was spent in Chicago developing solutions to some of our colleagues' and customers' biggest pain points. Notably, the team developed and publicly released Tonr, an app built "to create filters that affirm that black, brown and other skin tones are beautiful," the creators told Fortune.

See Tonr in action
color coded

Hosted Color Coded Hackathon

The Vox Product Diversity and Inclusion Committee presented Color Coded, an "unhackathon" that aimed to empower people of color through collaboration, creativity, and self-care.

Learn about color coded

Partners United to Hack Harassment Online

Intel, Vox Media, Recode, and Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation partnered for a new initiative onstage at the Consumer Electronic Show: Hack Harassment. The ongoing effort encourages industry-wide action to fight online harassment and provide safer, more inclusive online experiences for everyone.

Read more from Fortune

2016 Year in Review Credits

Design/Development: Klare Frank
Design Direction: Carrie Ruby
Illustrator: Joshua Ariza
Producer: Andrea Rogoff
Producer: Fay Sliger
Project Manager: Michael Case
Copy Editor: Tanya Pai
Q/A Team: Jon Douglas, Nancy Seay, Steven Leon
Special Thanks: Ted Irvine, Kyle Keller