Producers of Group Nine's short film "Two Distant Strangers" at the Oscars. Photo by AP.
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Entertainment

How Vice, Vox and BuzzFeed Are Cashing In on the Streaming Boom

Photo: Producers of Group Nine's short film "Two Distant Strangers" at the Oscars. Photo by AP.

“Land of the Giants” is a podcast series from Vox Media’s Recode covering the history of tech companies including Amazon and Netflix. It will soon be a TV show, made by Vox for a major cable network for a fee of several millions of dollars, according to people familiar with the matter.

Digital media firms which have long struggled to compete with Facebook and Google for a share of the ad market are increasingly reliant on Hollywood-style businesses of making TV shows and movies for growth. Vox Media has sold 50 projects—including both films and TV series—in the last 15 months to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple, and to TV networks including CNN and HBO. It has 14 films and TV shows currently in production, according to company executives.

It’s a similar story for Group Nine Media, whose shareholders include TV firm Discovery, as well as BuzzFeed and Vice Media. The companies are all trying to meet the boom in demand for video programming caused by the explosion in video-streaming services. The focus on Hollywood comes as most of the digital media companies are looking to go public and need to demonstrate they can build sustainable, growing businesses with a diversified mix of revenues that goes beyond advertising.

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