Vox Media, the digital media company with a stable of popular websites under its purview including sports site SB Nation and video game site Polygon, announced that it was acquiring Re/code, a tech industry news website. As the New York Times notes, the deal "reflects the turmoil among digital organizations focused on covering the tech industry."
Re/code's history is an interesting one, and emblematic of the circuitous routes many digital media entities take to either profitability or failure. The site became independent after spinning off from The Wall Street Journal, but originally the entity that eventually became Re/code grew out of a conference business that regularly hosted leaders from the tech industry and beyond. The conference business may actually be the most valuable asset that Vox Media has acquired in the deal, as it continued to grow even while Re/code itself was struggling. Vox has plans to expand the conference aspect of Re/code to other aspects of the Vox Media business.
This change for Vox Media and Re/code is just one of many recent crashes and mergers in the digital media landscape, with start-ups raising capital, attempting to acquire an audience and become profitable, and then often either failing or being absorbed by other entities. This seems to be the case for Re/code, which hadn't garnered a very large audience (1.5 million visitors per month) despite it's reputation as a site with insider-y tech stories and it's knack for breaking industry news.
Because we live in the age of mergers and acquisitions, it seems only natural that a collective such as Vox Media would try to gather a reliable stable of companies under its umbrella. However, while large conglomerates such as Time Warner Cable or Comcast attempt to consolidate their positions in order to gain further market dominance and industry influence, companies such as Re/code seem to be doing so in order to guarantee their survival, or at least forestall their demise.
This difference between small digital media concerns and media mega-companies is readily apparent: As Vox is slowly building its empire and sites like Re/code survive through self-selling, Quartz notes that Comcast may just end up buying them both.