By: Dawn C. Chmielewski
Univision’s decision to acquire Gawker Media in a fire-sale auction last year is paying dividends.
The Spanish-language network pursued Gawker in a bid to expand its reach into the millennial market, which is dominated by the likes of BuzzFeed and Vox Media. It rolled up Gawker’s assets — Deadspin, Gizmodo, Jezebel — into a digital media group whose assets include the satiric The Onion and a publication aimed at African Americans called The Root.
Univision said today during its third-quarter earnings call that revenue for the digital media group, which includes Gawker, Fusion and the network’s main site Univision.com, rose 40% in the third quarter to $37.6 million, compared with a year ago’s revenues of $26.9 million.
Univision CEO Randy Falco talked enthusiastically about the unit as one of the largest digital media companies, attracting more than 100 million visitors, including a chunk of affluent 18- to 34-year-olds with household incomes of $100,000 or more.
“We continue to integrate the English-language digital acquisitions we have made across the Fusion Media Group,” Falco told investors. “We are building a 360-degree monetization model around leading digital media brands such as The Onion, Deadspin, Jezebel, A.V Club, Jalopnik and The Root among others.”
The media group is adapting popular online brands for television — a time-honored strategy for media companies to better monetize digital assets. Falco cited as an example Cars vs America, a Fusion TV show about car culture hosted by Jalopnik editors Michael Ballaban and Raphael Orlove, which has recently produced such humorous segments as a low-speed race across New York pitting the Yugoslavian-import Yugo against the Volkswagen Beetle.
It’s a template for Fusion going forward, as Fusion looks to develop projects based on other Gawker brands including the sports-obsessed Deadspin and gear- and science-focused Gizmodo.