Vox Media Buys Group Nine: What The Consolidation Trend Means For The Digital Media Marketplace

“The ability to understand context is what you get out of that type of scale…”

by Anthony Vargas (AdExchanger) / Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

Another mega merger has shaken up the digital media landscape.

One day after reports that Vox Media was looking to acquire Group Nine Media, the two companies made their deal official. Vox Media will add all of Group Nine’s publishing properties, including Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo, Seeker and POPSUGAR, to its portfolio of content.

The Vox Media/Group Nine deal is only the most recent example of the consolidation trend in digital media.

Publishers have been turning to M&A as a method to grow their audiences and increase their ad revenue, in addition to boosting their valuation for further deals down the road, including IPOs and SPAC mergers.

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By combining their formerly separate brands into a new, unified identity post-merger, publishers can create new opportunities for their audiences to spend more time bouncing around the various sites in their portfolio.

This allows publishers to paint a more complete picture of their opted-in individual subscribers, which provides accountability for their growing first-party datasets.

“There is still huge demand for adding additional datasets, [and] if you can do it in a privacy-centric way, you can add completely new revenue streams on top of your ad models,” said Kevin Bauer, North America data and identity lead for Prohaska Consulting. “You can drive better transparency and accountability for media spends, and it increases your margin off the data that you already have.”

Increased audience dwell time across media platforms also allows larger publishers to capitalize on the resurgence of contextual ad targeting.

“The ability to understand context is what you get out of that type of scale,” said Bauer. “The more content I have, the better positioned I am to understand the context, because a user is going to spend more time with me on more topics. That richness of data is what provides the context.”

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