Groups of internet websites are forming in clusters so that they can share resources and leverage their collective size to negotiate better deals with digital content distributors and offer better advertising solutions.
The latest: Bustle Digital Group announced yesterday that it is acquiring The Zoe Report from Rachel Zoe, Inc., a popular fashion and lifesytle brand for young women. Bustle CEO Bryan Goldberg says they are planning more acquisitions in the future.
Why it matters: The holding groups in some ways mimic the way cable channels joined together decades ago to create mega-networks (Turner, Viacom, etc.) that could be used to negotiate more powerful distribution deals with TV content distributors, like cable and satellite companies.
Some of the new digital networks that have formed over the last few years:
- Bustle Digital Group: Bustle, Elite Daily, Romper, The Zoe Report
- Gizmodo Media Group: Deadspin, Earther, Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku, Lifehacker, Splinter News, The Root, Track Record
- Group Nine: NowThis, Seeker, The Dodo, Thrillist
- Oath: (Which formed through Verizon acquisitions) AOL, HuffPost, Engadget, Tumblr, TechCrunch, Yahoo!, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Sports
- Vox Media Inc.: The Verge, Polygon, Curbed, Eater, Racked, Vox, SB Nation and Recode
Some networks, like CBS and NBCUniversal, also own and/or invest in a handful of digital media sites. CBS owns sites like CNET and TV Guide. NBCUniversal has partnered with Refinery29 on content and invested in sites like BuzzFeed, Vox Media and Axios.
Editor's note: This piece has been corrected to show that NBCUniversal has partnered with Refinery29 on content, not invested in the brand.