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In an Effort to Woo Advertisers, Vox Will Turn Its 8 Brands Into TV Networks

Also launched Ezra Klein Show podcast today

Vox plans to make its mark on TV in 2016 Getty Images, Vox, Polygon, The Verge

Vox Media has come a long way since its days as SportsBlogs Inc. In the 12 years since launching SB Nation, through acquistions and new launches, the company now reaches 170 million users across its eight brands, including Re/Code, The Verge, and main news site Vox.com.

Now Vox Media president Marty Moe wants to turn those brands into their own TV channels.

"What we're thinking of, long term, is not just producing TV shows to sell," explains Moe, "but ultimately, develop a sufficient level of great TV content so that we can think of our brands as TV networks just as much as we think of them as websites."

Early last year, Vox launched Vox Entertainment, which Moe describes as "essentially a TV production company within Vox Media," to build out its video capabilities and talent relationships with Hollywood. The company signed on with agency powerhouse WME to develop TV and film projects. 

Vox Entertainment was launched prior to a $200 million investment from NBCUniversal. Moe notes that having a so-called legacy media company on board should help jump-start the push into television. "It will certainly afford us some opportunities," he said.

Similar to Vice's deal with HBO, a Vox-branded show could come to one of NBCU's many cable networks.

Vox already has a deal with Top Chef producer Magical Elves to develop a series for its food site, Eater. And its real estate brand Curbed has partnered with A+E Networks' FYI channel for My City's Just Not That Into Me. Racked, Vox's fashion and beauty site, has experimented with scripted comedy with its series Try Hards.

"We're in market with a powerful slate of TV opportunities," Moe said.

As it works to expand video production, Vox is full steam ahead in the audio space, with some 20 different podcasts across its portfolio. "We're very bullish on it. We think that's going to be a continuing growth area," Moe said.

One of his biggest goals is to attract big brands to the medium. Despite the success of Serial during its debut season, advertisers have not followed en masse. "As is the case with any other kind of emerging medium, the advertising tends to come along a little bit after the audience growth," Moe said.

"What's great is that digital is allowing us and our marketing partners to reach audiences across all of these forms," Moe said.

And just in time for the New Hampshire primary, Vox launched its latest podcast this morning. In partnership with Slate's Panoply, The Ezra Klein Show will see the Vox editor-in-chief interview political pundits, policymakers, writers, technologists and business leaders.

"It's hard for me to focus on long-form interviews on TV," said Klein, who has filled in on MSNBC over the years. "One of the things about podcasting is that [listeners] often do it as a secondary activity."

The first episode features MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. Super-lobbyist Tony Podesta and political scientist Theda Skocpol are set for future episodes. "It's a different kind of interview that really exists right now, at least in a broad way, in the political sphere," Klein said.

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