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Which Digital Media Firms Are Best Positioned for Tough 2018

It was a year of upheaval in the media industry. The Murdochs decided to sell most of their Fox entertainment properties to Disney, in a very public acknowledgement that Fox lacked the scale to compete effectively. Meanwhile, Mashable was sold at a fire sale price to Ziff Davis, and companies like BuzzFeed and Vice missed their ambitious revenue targets.

Next year could be even tougher for digital media startups, at least those dependent on advertising. Google and Facebook are soaking up an increasing majority of ad revenue—73% in the second quarter, Pivotal analyst Brian Wieser estimated last week. That means a growing number of firms are fighting for a diminishing share of the pie. For that reason, many investors and industry executives anticipate it will get tougher for digital media firms to raise money.

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It posted decent revenue in its first full year of operation, generating around $15 million, according to a person familiar with the figures. Much of its revenue came from ads in its popular newsletter by co-founder Mike Allen, in the form of branded items by big corporate marketers such as Boeing and Morgan Stanley. Still, it could be tough for Axios to keep growing. In the next year, the company will likely use the $20 million it raised to build out other revenue streams.

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