The company behind The Verge, SB Nation, Vox and many other popular websites has struggled in recent times to justify many of its initiatives and was forced to layoff 5 percent of its workforce in February. What’s to blame for the struggle? The decline in social media’s focus on video, and the business itself made a healthy $160 million in 2017.
For years it’s been talking about monetizing the CMS that powers its properties, Chorus, and it’s poised to do so as it holds talks with “20 news organizations” who want to take advantage of its technology. Presumably these companies are all still using Wordpress, but the fees for Chorus are a jaw-dropping six-figures, which may be a struggle in an industry where publishers don’t have much pocket change lying around anymore.
Chorus has clearly been a differentiator for Vox Media’s properties, but it isn’t all of the magic, either. Vox is a branding powerhouse, and knows how to wield Chorus to its advantage, but we’re curious how well that custom product will work externally with less-adept publishers.