December 1, 2014 Last Updated 12:18 pm

The National makes it through trial; Vox Media secures more funding, bloated valuation

Morning Brief: a recap of media news from over the holiday weekend; a rundown of Cyber Monday media deals

The National, the new tabloid produced by the Herald & Times Group in Scotland, has made it through its five day trial period and will continue on.

TheNatl-dec1Launched just last week, with a five day trial period to test demand, the new pro-independence tabloid has survived into its second week.

“Our first edition sold out. We printed 100,000 copies the following day, and sales stayed at a high level,” editor Richard Walker said late last week.

“They have slipped slightly since – as sales inevitably do after a launch edition. But they remain beyond our wildest dreams and are bolstered by more than 11,000 digital subscriptions. It’s been an incredible – if challenging – week.”

The newspaper, which is produced by a division of Newsquest, a Gannett company, said it had signed up around 11,000 digital subscribers to its PageSuite produced online flipbook edition. The new Monday through Friday newspaper is produced by the staff of the Sunday Herald, the only major newspaper to support the recent independence referendum.

But despite the vote of confidence in The National, the paper’s website is still not fully functional, with the same introductory notice posted on its home page.


Vox Media drew attention yesterday when the NYT reported that it had just closed a $46.5 million round of financing from the NYC investment firm General Atlantic. The added funding valued the company at $380 million.

Vox-flagNow, if that smells a lot like a tech bubble to you, you are not alone. To be valued at nearly $400 million, a traditional media company would need to be billing around $200 million in revenue each year, or making between $25-30 million in profit annually. Those rules don’t apply to a tech start-up, of course.

Vox Media, formerly Sports Blogs, Inc., is the online media company behind the brands SB Nation, The Verge, Polygon, and Curbed. It also launched Vox.com as a vehicle for the former Washington Post blogger/columnist Ezra Klein.

While the only way such a lofty valuation could be justified would be if Vox Media would eventually be an acquisition target by another media company, it is true that Vox has some innovative online brands SB Nation, which used a logical strategy to create its network of sports blogs, should have been used as an example of how to build sports reporting capabilities by newspaper properties (but it wasn’t, of course).

The combined Vox Media brands have about 150 million unique visitors a month, according to the NYT story.


If last Friday was Black Friday, that makes today Cyber Monday – the day people sit around their offices and buy gifts online rather than do any actual work. If that is your plan for the day, here is a rundown of some of the Cyber Monday media deals I’ve seen so far:

The New York Times: “…our Biggest Sale of the Year” That doesn’t sound much like a newspaper, does it? But the NYT is offering 50 percent off its digital subscriptions.

Aquafadas: Reacting to the recent decision by Adobe to end its Single Edition app solution for Creative Cloud members, the digital publishing platform is offering its own Single Edition apps for $525 (a discount off the regular $750 price, a 30 percent discount). The same discount applies to other solutions, as well (you will need to use the promo code BLACKWEEK2014).

Blurb: The self-publishing book platform is offering 30 percent off of orders over $150, 25 percent off of orders over $100, and 20 percent off smaller orders. Use promo code CYBER30, CYBER25 and CYBER20.

Esquire-printHearst Magazines: Hearst is offering its consumer magazine titles at just $5 each for a one-year subscription. The move is a good reminder for those paid content folks that discounting paid subscriptions is generally seen as a way to maintain those rate bases, rather than as a serious revenue generator. The offer does not apply to titles the reader is already subscribing to, and it does not appear to apply to digital (that’s right, the expensive print edition to Esquire is $5, but the digital edition remains $19.99).

Next Issue Media: 50 percent off (for 2 months) the price of its unlimited magazines subscription price.

Lucidpress: The print and digital publishing company is offering 30 percent off annual subscriptions (use CYBER30).

Apple: Today Apple is contributing a portion of sales proceeds from product, accessory, and gift cards sold at its Apple Retail Store locations and Apple Online Store to the Global Fund to fight AIDS (RED). The promotion is through December 7.

Toshiba: Various laptop and memory upgrade deals.

Aplusnet: 50 percent off hosting, domains and email accounts.

HostGator: More hosting deals – this time 55 percent off.

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