Publishers have traditionally heard “niche” and thought small. These days they hear it and think “opportunity.”
This fall, The Boston Globe plans to launch Stat, a standalone news site focused on health, medicine and life sciences. Aimed at general-interest readers, the site’s early output has included coverage of measles vaccines, heart disease studies and crowdfunded medical devices. It’s the third of such standalone sites for the Globe, which launched its technology focused BetaBoston last March and Crux, its Catholic news site, last September.
The sites are all part of the Globe’s play for a broader national and international audience, which it has pursued since Red Sox owner John W. Henry bought the company from The New York Times in 2013.
“These are the things for which Boston is known for and what we think we can own,” said Boston Globe Media Partners CEO Mike Sheehan, explaining its newfound focus. “When we go into verticals in which we’re were dominant, it expands our overall audience, which helps boost everything else. You’re never going to see us start a site focused on consumer packaged goods.”
While articles from Crux and Stat regularly appear on The Boston Globe, they’re meant to stand on their own. The Boston Globe branding is almost entirely absent on Crux, and the company plans to apply the same approach to Stat, which, unlike The Boston Globe’s core site, won’t have a paywall. It’s a different approach from that of The New York Times and Washington Post, whose vertical properties are designed live on their main sites. “We don’t want to dilute the brands by having all of these in the same place,” said Sheehan. “There’s more revenue opportunity in them being their own things.”
The Boston Globe’s standalone sites are not to be confused with side projects or experiments. While Crux’s team has grown to six reporters over the past year, Stat, which doesn’t launch for another few weeks, is already at 35 people. That’s likely to increase to 50 by the end of the ear. The formula is off to a decent start: Crux got 255,000 unique visitors in March, according to comScore, and has 108,752 Facebook likes and 14,000 Twitter followers.
The Globe’s standalone site formula mirrors that of Atlantic Media, which has found a successful formula with Quartz and Defense One, which cover global business and the defense industry, respectively. The two companies also share DNA: Andrew Perlmutter, Boston Globe Media Partners executive vice president, helped develop and launch Quartz back in 2012.
The Boston Globe and the Atlantic aren’t the only legacy publishers to pursue niche coverage, either. In August, Cox Media launched Dawg Nation, the first of its planned niche sites, which focuses exclusively on University of Georgia football. Last year, The New York Post launched entertainment site Decider, which is focused on helping readers find things to watch on the Web’s streaming sites. The idea behind these efforts is in part to mimic the models of companies like Vox Media and Gawker Media, which are built around a constellation of highly focused sites with engaged readers. That might be an easier sell at a time when audiences are fracturing and general-news sites are getting squeezed.
“This is all just a reflection of the way this market is evolving,” said Kreisky Media Consulting founder Peter Kreisky. “There’s a lot that can happen when you create these kind of well-targeted offerings aimed at specific audiences. You can get a level of loyalty and regular engagement that’s harder to get otherwise.”
How publishers are future proofing their commerce offerings for post-pandemic consumers
Four publishers gathered at Digiday Media's Commerce for Publishers Forum to talk about their affiliate programs and strategies.
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: Publishers and media unions are still haggling over office-return plans heading into the summer
In this week's Media Briefing, senior media reporter Sara Guaglione reports on how unions at some major media companies are pushing back against publishers' return to office mandates, with The New York Times Guild seemingly netting a victory on Wednesday.
‘He thought I was accusing him of being racist’: Confessions of a comms pro on working with out of touch leadership
The [CEO] and one of the other co-founders felt the need to point out that they mentor black people and donate to black-focused charities. 'It wasn't about them, but they were making it about them.'
SponsoredHow marketers and retailers are unlocking the true value of retail media
Ben Kneen, senior director of product management, Xandr It’s a challenging time for retailers in the advertising industry. As they cope with supply chain woes and inflation-related pressures, they seek high-margin revenue streams amid evolving privacy regulations and massive shifts in identity solutions — including IDFA, the deprecation of third-party cookies and more. In light […]
As economic uncertainty grows, senior media buyers expect decent upfront pricing options across linear and digital
TV sellers face a steeper uphill climb to sell billions of ad time in advance, as market indicators look increasingly gloomy. But that's not stopping one seller from seeking aggressive pricing and volume gains.
How Microsoft plans to storm adland: ‘Attribution, CTV, in-game ads and potential M&A’
Microsoft Advertising VP Rob Wilk explains how it plans to burnish its $10bn ad business