Jul 30, 2019 - Economy

Niche media becoming a norm

Niche media outlets are having their moment, with cross-vertical topics experiencing new room for growth.

Where it stands: The Athletic, a digital sports news subscription service, has reached more than 500,000 subscribers and expects nearly 1 million globally by year's end, thanks to heavy investments being made in the U.K.

  • Travel: The Skift is in the middle of its second major acquisition right now, CEO Rafat Ali tells Axios. The first was Airline Weekly last year. It's also looking closely at two other acquisitions.
  • Luxury: Glossy, a luxury and fashion brand from Digiday, has seen a revenue increase of more than 300% since last year.
  • Black millennials: Blavity, which now includes five sites covering news, technology, travel, entertainment and women’s wellness, secured a Series A round last year and is now running two conferences.
  • Food and experiential: The Infatuation's newsletter subscriber base will nearly double by year's end, executives tell Axios. The company plans to launch a new restaurant discovery platform with the Zagat brand next year.

The big picture: Consumers will pay for good quality content they can't easily get somewhere else, says Charles Hudson, a managing partner at Precursor Ventures and an investor in both The Juggernaut and The Athletic.

  • "In an age where everything has become disintermediated, the importance of direct relationships with users is becoming a lot more apparent. That is the thing you can’t do at scale," says Ali.

Our thought bubble: Many of these outlets are venture-backed, and could face the same fate that some other venture-backed media companies have experienced over the past few years. But most of these outlets are so narrowly focused they haven't raised enormous sums of money.

Meanwhile: Vice Media is in talks to buy Refinery29, WSJ's Ben Mullin reports.

Go deeper: The topics that work best on the different platforms

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