Listen: Pam Wasserstein Brings Her New York State of Mind to Vox Media

A look at how the newly merged company is moving forward with 13 brands and a new outlook

Pamela Wasserstein CES
Isaac Brekken/Variety/Shutterstock

Merging New York Media with Vox Media wasn’t a deal Pam Wasserstein felt she had to make. But she’s glad she did.

Now that the New York Media CEO-turned-Vox president is a few months into driving strategy for the combined businesses, Wasserstein is happy to report that her hunch that Vox and New York would make a good match has been validated.

“It was not surprising to dive in a little more deeply and confirm what we suspected, which is a lot of cultural similarity,” she said on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business.”

Listen to the podcast here:

Wasserstein rejects the notion that the pressures of the publishing business forced her hand last November when the companies completed an all-stock swap. New York Media actually grew revenues 25% in 2019, she disclosed, but she came to the realization that being a part of something bigger was even better.

“It wasn’t so much a pressure, but that said, there is absolutely an opportunity in scale, and there are things we can do collectively and offer to the market that individually we couldn’t do quite as well,” said Wasserstein, who ran the company behind New York magazine for the last three years.

That means figuring out how a portfolio now 13 brands strong (including Eater, Polygon and Vulture) with minimal overlap can move forward without stepping on each other’s toes. She’s already exploiting synergies, bringing together New York’s longstanding skill adapting its intellectual property for film (see: Jennifer Lopez flick “Hustlers”) with Vox’s in-house production capabilities in order to sell shows directly to buyers of long-form content. Instead of just licensing story ideas for others to execute, now New York can develop and produce themselves as well.

“One benefit of the merger is that Vox Media had really focused on building a studio business,” said Wasserstein, who also joined the board of directors at Vox. “We are already well, well active in leveraging the production capabilities of Vox Media studios to kind of amp up our development.”

Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Past episodes include conversations with Discovery CEO David Zaslav and Dana Walden, co-head of 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Television Group. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.