Consider Vice. The most valuable new media company on the planet has a surprisingly small audience on its flagship Vice.com. It’s stunning revenue has been driven by outstanding sales execution, product diversification, service offerings, differentiated voice, and marketing leadership, amongst many other competencies. Refinery29 makes about as much revenue as Vox’s entire portfolio, despite having a fraction of its traffic….
In a subscription-focused business, journalism is left alone. Everything changes in an advertising-focused business. Wall Street is going to bang down their door for the answers. This will create a cultural crucible for them, and one for which the New Republic and First Look Media could prove an early harbinger. The last two years have been a détente for “church and state.” That ends in 2015.