Dotdash was named Publisher of the Year at Thursday’s Digiday Publishing Awards Gala.
The gala, hosted by HQ Trivia host Scott Rogowsky, celebrated the top work in digital publishing by publishers, brands, agencies and technology platforms across the world. Winners were announced from categories like Best Live Event, Best Content Studio and Best Use of a Podcast.
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Publisher of the Year recognizes the publisher that best displays original thinking, creativity and overall excellence in its approach to publishing and media. Dotdash — originally About.com — was built during the years of general interest sites like Yahoo. To remain relevant and maintain advertiser dollars in the 21st century, Dotdash’s parent company, IAC, decided to go vertical, reorganizing About.com in 2016-17 into six new media brands with distinct brand identities under the Dotdash umbrella.
Dotdash has not left its past behind entirely. Thanks to its years of experience with Google search, the publisher has kick-started new revenue streams: At the end of December 2017, the company reported that it grew its commerce revenues from $1 million to $7 million.
“It’s actually surprisingly rewarding,” said Neil Vogel, CEO of Dotdash. “We were, not that long ago, About.com. The whole thing wasn’t working. We flipped into five vertical brands, all of which became leaders in their category. We’ve doubled traffic and doubled revenue in a year and it’s nice that people are recognizing what we’ve done.”
Brit + Co and Lyft took home Best Experiential Marketing Campaign, which was given out for the first time this year. In order to generate awareness for its new Round Up & Donate app feature, Lyft partnered with the lifestyle publisher to execute an experiential program that came to life as a “play it forward” arcade at Brit + Co’s #CreateGood event. When asked about the success of their partnership, Lyft brand media director Larisa Johnson said, “I feel like it only comes along every so often where there’s such synergy between the event that the partner is hosting and the brand itself.” The activation resulted in a $10,000 donation to Girls Who Code, one of Lyft’s Round Up & Donate charities.
Best Use of Instagram went to Bleacher Report for captivating audiences with its House of Highlights account, which is followed by big-name athletes like LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo, celebrities like Drake and Kevin Hart, and 8.6 million other users. The account acts as a SportsCenter for the social media generation and earned 635 million video views last November.
“You think about all the hard work that you put in over the past year, it’s for moments like this,” said Omar Rana, the creator of House of Highlights.
For turning last summer’s solar eclipse into a live virtual reality experience, CNN Courageous Studio’s “Racing the Sun” took home the Best Use of VR/AR award. To deliver the 2-minute blackout to everyone around the world, the news publisher teamed up with Volvo to deliver a never-been-done-before live VR experience from seven locations in a span of two hours, ending with the most-watched live VR event in history. Talk about totality.
Other winners from the evening included BuzzFeed for Best E-Commerce Strategy, Refinery29 for Best Video Series and PopSugar for Best Use of Audience Data.
View all of the winning work below.
Publisher of the Year
Publishing Executive of the Year
Rich Routman, president and CRO, Minute Media
Best New Vertical/Brand
The Players’ Tribune
Best Use of Snapchat
The Washington Post – Snapchat Discover Channel
Best Use of Instagram
Bleacher Report – “House Of Highlights” Instagram takeover
Best Use of Facebook Live
NBC News – Total Eclipse Weather Forecast
Best Use of a Podcast
Los Angeles Times – “Dirty John”
Best Use of a Messenger Bot
Starcom and Receptiv – Mars Snickers Hunger Bar and Kik integration
Best Use of VR/AR
CNN Courageous Studio – “Racing The Sun”
Best Use of Audience Data
PopSugar Inc. – RetailRank Industry Report 2017
Best Use of Technology
Purch – Purch Publisher Services
Best Email Newsletter
The Daily Beast – Cheat Sheet
Best Overall Design
Versus Productions – Washington Post rebrand
Best E-Commerce Strategy
BuzzFeed – BuzzFeed Commerce
Best Experiential Marketing Campaign
Brit + Co – Lyft’s “Play It Forward” Arcade at Brit + Co’s #CreateGood
Best Branded Content Program – B2C
The Hook – The Hook and “Jigsaw”
Best Branded Content Program – B2B
The Economist Group and HPE – “Yeasayers” game
Best Mobile Innovation
Scripps Networks Interactive – Food Network’s In the Kitchen app
Best Custom Advertising
Bustle and Sephora Collection – “The Beauty Lab”
Best Content Studio
Most Effective Sales Team
Bustle Digital Group
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