Vox Media is building a business that extends beyond podcasting

Vox Media has been on a frenzy of shopping for the past couple of years. After acquiring Epic to boost its TV production business, New York Media to expand its publishing portfolio and Coral to add to its publishing technology, in April the media company took over Cafe Studios – the podcast company co – founded by former US attorney Preet Bharara – to complement his podcast network. However, for Vox Media and Cafe Studios, the motivation behind the deal extends beyond the world of audio.

“There are a lot of things we are thinking about and planning, not just continuing to release additional audio podcasts. [including narrative series] in the future, ”said Bharara, who was joined by Vox Media Studios President Marty Moe in the latest episode of the Digiday podcast. The companies are also looking to expand Cafe Studios into documentary television and live events.

Meanwhile, Cafe Studios is pushing its new parent company forward in the subscription business. Vox Media already sells subscriptions through New York Magazine and donates through its Vox news publication. But Cafe Studios, which sells subscriptions through its Cafe Insider program, introduces it to the world of subscription podcasting.

“One of the cool things about Cafe is learning from [Cafe Insider] and learn how we can potentially extend that to more of our podcasting business, but frankly, how we can connect it and use the learnings for other parts of our subscription business, ”Moe said.

Here are some conversation highlights, which have been edited slightly for length and clarity.

Why Cafe Studios was sold to Vox Media

Bharara: There are teams of people including revenue and sales folks and audience development folks who really help us create the way we can grow and grow, not just the current shows, but also our way of thinking about the subscription model, also how we plan to join other people and, probably most important for the needs of the moment, the big launch of “Now & Then”, [a current events-meets-history show hosted by Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman].

How Vox Media built its podcast network

Moe: [The acquisition of Cafe Studios] reflects the work we have done at Vox Media, over the last three years and change, to develop our audio business and our capabilities to start, in a real way, to evolve. We started to sell [Cafe’s podcasts to advertisers] in May and our first programs are already underway. We have built an infrastructure for launching new shows internally, managing large numbers of employees, managing advertisers and marketing shows, so now we are able to bring in a business like Cafe and connect it. seamlessly to our system.

How podcasts can be adapted for other forms of media

Moe: We certainly do already. It’s still something that plays out very early on and determines all the different ways that something that might start out as a podcast can become something that is a scripted series, a documentary. It can become an event. It can become a piece with written lyrics. All of these things are already there at the Café.

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