Mic, the digital media publisher focused on Millennial culture and issues, is rolling out several new content brands.
Best known for its news and politics coverage, Mic found that its audience was responding well to a number of editorial experiments they did over the past couple of years, so the company decided to turn those experiments into new brands.
The new brands include Payoff, which covers personal finance; Slay, focused on women’s issues; Navigating Trump’s America, which will be focused helping readers understand today’s political happenings and trends; and The Future is Now, which will be all about developments in the tech world.
“A lot of this was organic,” Cory Haik, Mic’s publisher, told The Wall Street Journal. She said the company had surveyed 2,500 readers and found that “what they wanted was more original reporting and in-depth takes.”
“In many traditional media companies, newsrooms make their decisions on which stories to cover based on what they think their audiences might want,” Haik said in her post on the launch of the new channels. “In our case, we started with the audiences and communities within social platforms.”
She said when Mic found that audiences were heavily engaged in social channels around various topic areas, the company responded to that engagement by producing more content for those audiences. “Our new channels will build on that work, giving audiences what we know they’re interested in—not just what we think they might want to know.”
One brand, Payoff, provides in-depth coverage on money issues ranging from paying off student loans, building credit, deciding when to make major purchases, and more.
Payoff is sponsored by Discover. That company has been trying to figure out how to reach a younger audience, and Payoff sounds like a great fit. However, Haik said there will be a strong “separation of church and state,” and that the editorial department’s articles won’t be influenced by the sponsor.
“As this generation grows up, begin[s] to start families of their own, buy homes, and save for the future, finance is a sector that is of growing importance to Millennials,” Haik told Adweek. “As Mic grows up with its audience, this kind of content is in perfect alignment with our brand.”
Why did Mic launch nine new brands instead of simply keeping the sites as channels within the site?
“We didn’t want to dilute the brand by just having a number of channels on Mic.com,” said Mic Chief Executive and Co-Founder Chris Altchek. That could lead to “confusing people. These are not tests, these are long-term permanent channels.”
To support the launch of the new brands, Mic is planning to hire about 35 new employees and move some current Mic staffers into different positions.
In 2015, Mic raised $17 million in venture capital in a series B round of funding. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, which had previously invested in Mic. Other capital was provided by firms including Axel Springer, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and Advancit Capital. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, whose focus is on journalism in all its forms, also participated in the funding round. That brought the company’s total funding to $32 million.
Will this expansion lead to more investment by VC and PE firms? Will Mic go public soon? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Image: Screen shot of Mic’s new brand, Payoff, showing its focus on financial issues. Payoff is sponsored by Discover