Insider Inc. — parent company of Business Insider and general news spin-off Insider — is reorganizing the editorial teams under three divisions: business, news and lifestyle. The goal: to enable each editorial team to narrow their focus while making its editorial mandate more easily understandable for audiences and advertising clients.
“We’re simplifying and streamlining the organization,” said Henry Blodget, CEO and editor of Insider. “This has been the overall vision for the last five years, and this is another step in that direction.”
Last year, some BI editorial teams — politics, news and military/defense — moved over to the Insider team in efforts to further distinguish between the two. The two core brands will remain, but internally these verticals will be more clearly defined to avoid any confusion. Business Insider will continue to cover executive news and lifestyle. While general news, politics, and lifestyle — including travel and food — will fall under the Insider umbrella. Although there will still be a cross-pollination of content between the two brands.
This has led to several staff changes. Jim Edwards, former editor-in-chief for Business Insider UK and International, has moved to global editor-in-chief of news for Insider. Julie Zeveloff West, U.S. editor-in-chief of Insider, will head up the lifestyle division. Alyson Shontell is the editor-in-chief at Business Insider. The publisher has invested in editorial staff, growing the newsroom 10% since 2018, when Insider started its push to become more of a general interest, rather than business news, brand.
According to an email sent out to staff Aug. 15. from Nicholas Carlson, global editor-in-chief, Insider, there will be no change to the video teams.
Blodget didn’t point to any previous negative impact that prompted a reorganization but said there had been some confusion on brands and sub-brands. The amount of content published will increase as it continues to invest in its editorial teams, he added, though he wouldn’t reveal specifics.
Business Insider, founded in 2007 to cover business, finance and tech news, expanded into more lifestyle coverage five years ago under the Insider umbrella. The vision has been that the brands would further integrate and this reorganization is a step in that direction.
The links to business news on BI have grown a little tenuous over time. Right now, the site features articles about the wildfire ripping through the Amazon and Kloe Kardashian defending the vacation photos of her baby. There’s plenty of politics and a sprinkling of picks from its Insider buying guides.
“It [the reorganization] helps in order to contextually place campaigns where clients like them,” Blodget said, adding that ad revenue is growing and accounts for the majority of Insider’s revenue.
Last year, Insider was profitable for the first time for the whole year and reached $100 million (£82 million) in revenue. Over time, the publisher has been diversifying into video production, events, licensing shows to platforms like Facebook, and commerce. The publisher has also had the benefit of being fully owned by Axel Springer, which bought the company in 2015 for $343 million (£282 million).
The restructure of editorial teams won’t bear any direct effect to its ongoing subscription business, Business Insider Prime. The paywall launched in 2017 and offers members access to additional reporting on BI. Subscribers have grown 180% between April and June this year, compared to the same period in 2018, said Blodget. They now number in the tens of thousands and are growing “rapidly,” but he wouldn’t share exact figures. Merging with eMarketer, also under the Axel Springer banner, next year will increase subscription revenue and help to balance it out with advertising-led revenues.
According to Blodget, there has been no negative impact on ad revenue from launching Prime.
“The ad business continues to grow; there’s a lot of opportunities for clients,” he said. “We also really believe in the subscriptions business and want to do the kind of journalism which is difficult to do with advertising alone.”