Content licensing for three of Vox Media’s verticals will soon be handled by Wright’s Media, an agency that works with publishers to grow their licensing businesses.
Wright’s Media will be responsible for selling award badges and seals for The Verge, the Strategist and Polygon – Vox Media’s technology, shopping and gaming publications, respectively – Eric Karp, vice president of brand licensing at Vox Media, announced Monday at the Digiday Publishing Summit in Key Biscayne, Florida. The official announcement will be made on October 1, he said.
Wright’s Media already worked with The Dodo, Thrillist and PopSugar (formerly Group Nine verticals, prior to the merger with Vox Media which closed in February 2022), but content licensing for The Verge, Strategist and Polygon was handled by another society.
Vox Media’s expanded agreement with Wright’s Media means the licensing agency will soon be responsible for the content licensing activities of Vox Media’s six verticals determined to have the “most commercial” opportunities in those businesses, Karp said. in an interview.
“We couldn’t have two partnerships,” Karp said. “But more than anything, what we needed was some sort of one-stop shop, so we could share information and share best practices across all brands.”
Vox Media owns five brand licensing businesses in addition to content licensing, including brand collaborations, fan merchandise, book publishing, strategic marketing/advertising and retail programs, Karp said. on stage during the summit. Vox Media’s retail programs business announced about two weeks ago a major deal between animal-focused vertical The Dodo and Walmart to sell three offerings: pet products, pet insurance (a program The Dodo launched about eight months ago) and Walmart’s first pet subscription box, which became available this week.
A “badge” is often a logo that signals that a publication’s editors have selected and verified that product or company as a “top pick.” Wright’s Media’s role is to find companies in relevant categories – such as those mentioned in this post’s rewards programs – that might be interested in paying to use the badges and logos as marketing on their websites, products physical or in stores. Wright’s Media takes a commission on the deal, and the rest goes to Vox Media, Karp said.
Karp declined to share Wright’s Media commission costs. However, he described the licensing business as “very lucrative” and a “very high-profit business.” Karp declined to share the amount of licensing revenue.
“There is no selling cost to Vox Media for any of these transactions. It’s a direct and equal contribution – every dollar. It is a profit contribution,” he said.
Unlike an advertising deal – where Vox Media is obligated to create content and distribute it across its platforms – “there is no selling cost against the badges because we are just providing a digital asset,” said Karp.