Vice Media Group’s Cory Haik aims for commerce and consumers to account for two-thirds of digital division revenue by 2024
Vice Media Group’s digital division, like many digital media outlets, currently derives the majority of its revenue from advertising. And like many media companies, VMG’s digital arm is diversifying its revenue.
“My goal is to go into 2024 for one-third of revenue to come from advertising, one-third [from] trade then a third [from] consumer,” VMG Chief Digital Officer Cory Haik said on the latest episode of the Digiday podcast.
She acknowledged that the goal “is ambitious for us”, but explained how VMG’s digital division – which is profitable – is already chipping away at the business. Last year, the company launched a new business vertical called Rec Room and also introduced a subscription product, Waypoint+, for its Waypoint games publication. During the interview, she discussed the various ways VMG will build on these initial moves, such as rolling out affiliate content on new properties like the fashion and culture vertical iD and adding a reader donation option for its news content.
“Our revenue is primarily ad-supported, but we’re opening that up. And we’re very, very bullish on diversification and working hard on it,” Haik said.
Here are some highlights from the conversation, which have been edited for length and clarity.
Get into the business
We did the [Refinery29] acquisition, and a big strategic reason for the acquisition was their ability to trade. Refinery Commercial Vertical, Most Wanted, [has reached] four years of maturity, continues to double its turnover year on year and mainly through affiliate purchase content. Rec Room was built from that. This same framework, very oriented towards the public. November was our highest revenue generating month across Rec Room and Most Wanted – in fact, a 3% year-over-year increase in affiliate revenue during that month.
Expand Affiliation to More Vice Verticals
We will continue to double down on writing articles, doing affiliate content, where we have authority adjacent to the sub-verticals of our verticals. We are going to launch affiliation on iD. And we see it as a sort of immersive luxury shopping universe. We are going to redesign the site of all our brands to allow this.
Added consumer revenue product for news
On the new side, we will launch a tip jar feature, a donation feature. We’ll see where that leads. We have a lot of people telling us, “If it was a paid product, we would pay for it. So we thought we’d start with a tip jar which will arrive in the next two months.
Open Stories Studio to outside creators
We are optimistic that [vertical content creation product Stories Studio] will become a tool of the economy of creators, that these creators that we know or that we do not know will be able [use to] plug into our network and we can help bring them the platforms we currently have. We’re close to a Q2 launch for that.