Digiday+ Member Article

The past several days brought reports that two once high-flying digital upstarts Mic and Vox Media were facing financial pressures. They were just the latest examples of digital media adjusting to the difficult reality of building a sustainable media business online. Last year, BuzzFeed and Vice Media missed their goals.

A big part of the problem for pure-play digital publishers is that the sponsored content that these companies relied on to fuel their business is under pressure. At our Digiday Publishing Summit this week, attendees talked about profit margins getting squeezed, forcing publishers to lower their expectations. Publishers come up with original ideas for agencies, only to be rejected, then see their idea appear on another venue. (Many freelance journalists can relate.) “Agencies are using the publishers to do their work,” one attendee lamented.

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