I have some thoughts on Vox Media — most of them in the native video efforts. Vox like many of its peers took a big bet on Facebook Video efforts and essentially ended up finding out that when it comes to Facebook, it is the house and the house always wins.
- Startups, not old stodgy companies, try new things. That’s what makes them interesting. They sometimes succeed. But they fail more often. And that’s okay. I think it is the right approach for every company – risks lead to big rewards.
- What does not work, however, is to be dependent on others (such as Facebook and Twitter) to carry their water.
- They layoffs are yet another reminder of why companies shouldn’t trust Facebook and its chimera-like promises of cheap traffic and users. It didn’t work for gaming companies, music companies and it hasn’t worked for news companies.
- I wouldn’t fault Jim Bankoff and others for trying to ride the Facebook rocket. They need growth. They need new sources of revenue. They need them because they need to keep growing to keep getting either the venture capital dollars or entice an ultimate buyer like Comcast.
- Vox isn’t the only one with challenges. Buzzfeed and Vice have missed their numbers and are finding that after a growth surge, reality is the ultimate glass ceiling.
- Media (Magazines, Papers, Television, Radio, and Movies) are fighting for attention with other services that suck up attention and are on a declining scale of getting that attention. The 20th century model of industrial media — Buzzfeed, Vox, and Vice are just that — is going to lose to other informal sources.
- However if I was to bet on who will most likely to take risks and find the path forward, it will be Vox and Buzzfeed. I don’t see any of the legacy media brands are bold enough to make audacious bets.