Last week, Mic announced that it had raised $21 million in venture capital funding from investors including Time Warner, bringing its total funding to $52 million. The millennial-focused publisher is using the funding to launch nine new verticals to cover pop culture, women and finance. This is a broadening of its original mandate as a news site.
“It’s not easy to monetize tragedy, or things that are complicated,” said Cory Haik, Mic’s publisher. “It’s not always the most appetizing thing for brands. Our audiences are not this monolith that just wants news. We’d like to be a well-rounded publication that they don’t have to go somewhere else to get their personal finance news, or when they want to know more deeply about culture and entertainment. We were going in that direction anyway. It’s a natural expansion.”
On this week’s Digiday Podcast, Haik joined Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey to talk about Mic’s strategy to embrace platforms and the challenges of branding.
Edited highlights below.
The “post-woke” media brand for millennials.
“The median age of millennials is about 26. The median age of our newsroom is about 26. Mic is kind of a mindset. It’s not necessarily about age. If you look at Gen Z, you don’t have to explain it to them. They use the word ‘corny’ for people who try to be cool, and be woke, and understand it. There’s this awakening, a wokeness that just happened here.”
Mic’s brand will underline the differentiated verticals.
“All of them definitely look and smell like Mic. Not everything has to be a social justice issue. It’s just one of the major issues of our times, and our audience cares a lot about it. But that rubric doesn’t have to apply to all of our verticals. The nuance is worth teasing out. When we’re bringing our values to our work, you will see some of that. Mic is like a network, where Mic news is the main channel and the other verticals are differentiated. You will know that they are Mic but they could also stand on their own.”
The focus is on impassioned audiences.
“We continue to develop a direct relationship with our audience — email, push alerts, apps, these direct to consumer products. At the moment that’s not subscription for us, but people who type in mic.com are very important to us.
Mic has a fair degree of Facebook dependency.
“If Facebook went away it will be difficult for us because we’ve built these audiences there. But we’re not totally dependent on Facebook. We have a nice stable base of search traffic. We also have a lot of direct connections, close to a million subscribers. It’s sort of silly to build your business on top of another business, if you’re trying to build a long-term business, which we are. Facebook is a huge channel and lever for us. We’d be silly not to ride that algorithm, meet those audiences, find new audiences, continue to grow. There’s no way that you could build that kind of audience in five years without platforms.”
The video strategy will keep diversifying.
“We have to make a business out of what we’re doing, platforms are part of it. It’s a huge opportunity. It’s a privilege to reach that many people. If you can monetize social video, which we’re very optimistic about as well, that’s huge. Facebook supports branded content on those feeds. That’s a 100 percent revenue to us. We’re very bullish on branded content.”
The Athletic’s Sebastian Tomich is looking beyond ads and subscriptions to reach profitability
The Athletic's path to profitability is set for 2025, and to achieve this goal, chief commercial officer Sebastian Tomich is focused on more than just selling ads directly to prospective advertisers.
How newsroom unions intervene when members get laid off
Amid the recent wave of media layoffs, here are some of the ways newsroom unions are intervening.
Despite Q1’s slow start, publishers are bullish about events revenue for 2023
Publishers like BDG and Apartment Therapy are banking on events revenue to give them a leg up in 2023.
SponsoredHow Rumpl and Replacements got creative with CTV ad production and media buys
Sponsored by MNTN This year, marketers are balancing multiple priorities, including the convergence of two trends: the growth of CTV advertising and economic uncertainty impacting ad budgets. To keep costs low while generating ROI, savvy brands are embracing innovative approaches to production and media buys. These tactics allow advertisers to continue reaching audiences on CTV […]
Media Briefing: The case for and against monthly and annual subscriptions in the battle for retention
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for improving retention in a subscriptions business. While annual subscribers might stick around longer for some, other publishers will have better luck with monthly plans.
Digiday+ Research: The economy will hit the media and marketing industries this year, but differently
The economy will plague both the media and marketing industries in 2023, but the hit will be uneven between publishers and agencies.