Media Insider: Axios Sells to Cox for $525M, Outlets Grow Their Crypto Teams
Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.
Axios Agrees to Sell Itself to Cox Enterprises for $525 Million
The New York Times | Benjamin Mullin
A mere five years after its founding, digital media company Axios has agreed to sell itself to Cox Enterprises. The $525 million sale price is roughly five times the projected 2022 revenue for Axios. Its three founders, Jim VandeHei, Roy Schwartz, and Mike Allen, will stay at the company as minority shareholders and will continue to make newsroom and business decisions. Axios gained popularity with readers for its trademark Smart Brevity writing style, which breaks down the key points of news stories and makes it easy for readers to scan and pick out major takeaways. Strong interviews of former President Trump and White House officials and popular newsletters have also helped Axios build a large audience. Mr. VandeHei said they decided to sell now because they found a buyer that was committed to journalism and that would pay a fair price.
- Read the press release from Cox.
- Data gathered by Axios this week shows that “media companies with a clear/niche focus are more likely to find strategic partners and generate a strong exit multiple for investors.”
Publishers invest in more crypto reporters
Digiday | Sara Guaglione
A number of publishers, including Fortune, Bloomberg, Forbes, Gizmodo, and Money, are growing their teams dedicated to covering blockchain and crypto – despite recent turmoil in the cryptocurrency market. While it may seem counterintuitive to bulk up reporting teams for a market that’s trending downward, it may actually be the most important time to do so. Stacy-Marie Ishmael, Bloomberg’s managing editor for crypto, explains: “When markets are declining…that’s when people really need better information, better news, better data and better reporting. Bear markets are a great time to help people figure out what’s going on.” Ishmael has added more than a dozen people to her team since it was formed last fall. Forbes senior editor Michael del Castillo said of their own crypto team’s growth, “What’s happening now is big media players are realizing that crypto and digital assets are not going away, and they’re building newsrooms to last.”
Also from Digiday: Startup news organization Grid is adding three journalists to boost news and politics coverage ahead of the November midterm elections.
BuzzFeed Discloses $5.3M In Restructuring Fees, Including Layoffs
The Hollywood Reporter | J. Clara Chan
In the second quarter, BuzzFeed brought in $106.8 million in revenue, just surpassing the benchmark of $100 million CEO Jonah Peretti predicted back in May. Despite the total revenue, the company reported $23.6 million in net losses as well as $3.5 million in restructuring costs for the quarter and $5.3 million for the past six months. The media company has struggled to perform since its IPO in December and its stock has dropped roughly 50% in price over the past six months. “We expect recession concerns to continue putting pressure on advertising, and we’re prepared for what comes next,” Peretti said in announcing BuzzFeed’s second quarter results.
Read next: Poynter asks why The New York Times has found overwhelming success while Gannett struggles.
Instagram Reels: Why news publishers are positive about platform’s shift to video
Press Gazette | Charlotte Tobitt
Upcoming changes to Instagram will convert any video under 15 minutes into a Reel and increase the amount of recommended content on users’ feeds — though that plan is temporarily on hold. But while users are not happy about the new change (read our recent edition of Media Insider for more), some publishers are hoping the updates will allow them to build their audience on the platform. ITV News deputy head of digital Chris Achilleos told Press Gazette the boost in recommended content will further “allow our content to be seen by more people who may not interact with us.” He added, “I view it as an opportunity for us to grow audience and engage more people with our journalism.”
In other social media news, Clubhouse is beta testing private communities called “Houses” to foster curated interactions.
CNN Originals Hub To Launch On Discovery+
Deadline | Jill Goldsmith
A new CNN Originals hub will launch on discovery+ in the U.S. beginning August 19. The library will feature over 800 hours of nonfiction content, including CNN Original Series, CNN Films and HLN Original Series. “True crime, food and travel programming are among the most-watched genres for discovery+ viewers, so these titles from CNN will fit right in with our best-in-class collection of unscripted content,” said JB Perrette, President and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery Streaming. The news comes after the short-lived CNN+ streaming service was shut down weeks after its launch by the network’s new owner. Some of the titles in the new hub include Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy; This is Life with Lisa Ling; Death Row Stories; and The Hunt with John Walsh.
ICYMI: ESPN has pulled out of Big Ten media rights negotiations, ending one of the longest sports media relationships in the business.
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Rocky Parker is the Manager of Audience and Journalist Engagement at Cision PR Newswire. She's been with the company since 2010 and has worked with journalists and bloggers as well as PR and comms professionals. Outside of work, she can be found trying a new recipe, binging a new show, or cuddling with her pitbull, Hudson.