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Racked Launches First Scripted Series as Vox Media Starts Dressing Up Sites with Video

Vox Media’s tried on something new with its relaunch of fashion and beauty website Racked this month: a slate of original shows.

The company behind popular websites the Verge, Polygon, Curbed and Eater has launched its first scripted series, “Try Hards,” through a collaboration with comedy duo SRSLY. Other shows include one with Lo Bosworth, formerly of MTV’s reality hit “The Hills,” and another involving British fashion and lifestyle magazine Dazed & Confused.

“Try Hards,” about young women who navigate fashion and beauty trends with characters that essentially serve as fictional members of the Racked editorial team, is designed to appeal to the site’s core demographic of young, affluent and educated women 18-34 who check in to read features on fashion, personal essays and news on wellness, beauty and celebrity.

Yet in addition to posts, Racked now sees new shows as a way to turn its digitally savvy demo into a regular audience that wants to come back and watch what happens next, too — something that should help Vox make Racked more attractive to advertisers. The company counts 155 million monthly visitors to its seven brands, which focuses on technology (the Verge), restaurants (Eater), real estate (Curbed), video games (Polygon), sports (SB Nation) and news (Vox).

SRSLY’s Danielle Gibson and Alexandra Fiber developed “Try Hards” with Vox and Racked’s editors. The show plays out in six episodes in its first season on Racked, and the site’s YouTube channel.

The show is being joined by Bosworth’s “Get Lo,” in which she tests out new fitness trends and workouts with trainers. Bosworth has joined Racked as the site’s health and wellness editor-at-large, as part of the deal to produce and host the show.

Another project debuting sooner is a video collaboration with British fashion and style magazine Dazed & Confused, in which fashion photographer Columbine Goldsmith directs a profile of writer Amy Rose Spiegel. The video is expected to be the first of collaborations with other editorial and fashion brands.

“Today, Racked goes to the next level,” said Racked editor-in-chief Leslie Price, who co-founded the site in 2007 as a blog devoted to the New York shopping scene. “Coming off a year of unprecedented growth, we’re now doing what we do so well — video, fashion features, breaking news coverage, personal essays — in a much bigger and bolder way. This is just the beginning, and we’re excited to show everyone what’s next.”

Racked’s redesign follows updates to Eater, in September, with Curbed the next Vox property to get a new look as the company relaunches its sites on the Chorus storytelling platform.

“We’re putting a flag in the ground with these brands,” said Chad Mumm, Vox Media’s creative director. “Rather than just relaunch with pretty logos and design, we’re ramping up investment in editorial and videos as a way to say this brand is Voxified and refreshed.”

Since joining Vox Media in late 2013, Racked has seen its audience grow 600%, and it has tripled its staff.

“We’re aggressively thinking about partnerships,” and the new series on Racked are meant to encapsulate that, Mumm added.

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