Vox Media to Spin Off Viral Political News Site NowThis

The digital news publisher will become its own independent entity one year after acquisition

Vox CEO Jim Bankoff at Vox Media Now conference at Fotografiska
Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

Vox Media is spinning off NowThis, a digital news publisher launched in 2012 aimed at young adults.

Under the agreement, Vox Media will retain a minority ownership take in the independent entity and will continue to sell, produce and execute advertiser campaigns for NowThis.

The company’s advertiser relations, encompassing all direct ad sales including branded content, will be managed by Vox Media. NowThis will also continue to be a part of Vox Media’s ad marketplace, Concert.

Meanwhile, the company’s editorial and personnel operations will be managed independently under the new entity. NowThis editor-in-chief Samara Mackereth and head of production and operations Jessic Borovay will remain in place and the staff in its entirety will join them in the transition.

The deal, which comes just over a year after being acquired by Vox, is backed by an investment from the Accelerate Change Media Network, which will be used to support NowThis’ continued growth and operations.

Accelerate Change is a nonprofit digital media lab, investor, and incubator focused on news, culture, and lifestyle properties that create high-quality journalism. Accelerate Change’s media network includes independent media properties such as ParentsTogether, PushBlack, Pulso, Noticias Para Inmigrantes, and Impact as well as hundreds of influencers and celebrities

NowThis is the #1 most-engaged U.S. news and politics digital-first publisher across Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook and the #1 news publisher on TikTok in the world with over 10 million followers and 70 million monthly views on the platform.

“NowThis is a powerhouse news publisher for young people on social platforms, and its reach and tremendous relevance has made it a destination for high-profile changemakers, cultural icons, and brand partners since its inception. We’re thrilled to partner with Accelerate Change to support the brand’s expansion,” Vox Media co-founder, chair and CEO Jim Bankoff said in a statement. “We’re excited about this model that allows Vox Media to continue to amplify NowThis as part of our portfolio with brand partners while setting NowThis up for continued success and rapid growth.”

A senior representative from Vox Media will join NowThis’ newly created board of directors alongside Accelerate Change’s representatives. ArentFox Schiff acted as outside legal advisors to Vox Media, and Kirton McConkie to Accelerate Change. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In January, Vox laid off 7% of its staff, or more than 130 staffers, across departments including revenue, editorial, operations and core services in a move that CEO Jim Bankoff attributed to “the challenging economic environment.” Spokeswoman Lauren Starke told TheWrap in an email at the time that Vox Media had about 1,900 employees before the layoffs.

Vox Media, which was valued at approximately $1 billion after closing a $200 million funding round in 2015, raised $100 million in February from Penske Media for a 20% ownership stake, according to the Times.

In addition to NowThis, Vox Media owns a wide slate of brands, including Vox, New York Magazine, The Verge, The Cut, Eater, Vulture and The Strategist. Other sites include Polygon, SB Nation, Intelligencer, Curbed, Grub Street, Recode, Thrillist, Popsugar, The Dodo and Seeker.