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Gizmodo Media Group Hires Ben Reininga as Head of Video

Univision CommunicationsGizmodo Media Group, which includes websites Gizmodo, Deadspin and Jezebel, has hired former Vocativ editor-in-chief Ben Reininga as head of video.

Gizmodo Media had a small video team before Univision’s acquisition of the six properties last year from Gawker Media, but video had not previously been a focus for the sites. With Reininga’s hire, GMG expects to ramp up its video production, but a company rep insisted that the strategy does not represent a “pivot to video” at the expense of other editorial content.

Reininga reports to Susie Banikarim, editorial director of Gizmodo Media Group, who worked with him when she was Vocativ’s chief content officer. Banikarim joined the company in September.

Previously, Reininga oversaw Vocativ’s newsroom of video producers, editors, and writers and worked with the production company that created Vocativ’s series for Showtime, “Dark Net.” He left Vocativ amid a sizable layoff this summer, after which he worked on projects as a consultant for NowThis, Mashable and others. Before Vocativ, he was deputy editor at Refinery29 and previously spent two years as editorial director of NowThis. He earlier worked at Huffington Post and Nerve.com.

Univision’s purchase of the Gawker Media assets in a bankruptcy auction hasn’t resulted in significant revenue growth at this point. In reporting third-quarter 2017 results, Univision said core digital advertising revenue for the period was $34.4 million, down 0.3% year over year on a pro-forma basis. For the first nine month of 2017 core digital ad sales were $95.6 million, up 2.9% year over year on a pro-forma basis.

Gizmodo Media Group has been starring up video producers for each site, and the video expansion comes as it has launched new sites focused on the environment (Earther), esports (Compete), and parenting (Offspring).

Currently, Gizmodo Media’s portfolio of sites includes Deadspin, Earther, Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku, Lifehacker, the Root, and Splinter. GMG is part of Fusion Media Group’s digital network, along with the Onion, The A.V. Club and Clickhole. All together, the Fusion Media Group reaches more than 100 million unique users per month, according to comScore.

Univision’s deal for Gawker Media excluded the flagship Gawker.com site, which ceased publishing in August 2016.

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