Digital Video NewFronts

Vox Media Gets a TV Show With the Working Title 'Prefabulous,' but It's Probably Not About What You Think

Vox's Snapchat Discover Chanel Is Changing Strategy

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Vox pitched its video offerings to advertisers at events on May 4.
Vox pitched its video offerings to advertisers at events on May 4. Credit: Courtesy Vox

In late March, Vox Media President Marty Moe forcefully made the case for a Vox-produced TV show ("We bring the ability to create a new generation of television programming for a new generation of digital television consumers") and said he'd be ready to share more about the company's plans when they sold their first show.

It appears the time has come. On Wednesday, the company said A&E Networks' FYI channel has greenlit a Vox Entertainment-produced show with a working title of "Prefabulous." Despite the tentative name, it's not about digital natives on the cusp of fabulous celebrity, or anything along those lines. It's about prefrabricated homes.

Production is beginning now on eight half-hour episodes, according to Vox.

"It's our first television production, but it's not our last," said Mr. Moe at one of Vox's two NewFront presentations to advertisers Wednesday.

Curbed, Vox Media's real estate site that's become a "destination for all aspects of home," will also work on the show. According to Nielsen data, FYI, which was formerly the Bio Channel, averaged 206,000 primetime viewers in the first quarter of 2016.

"It's a big step for us to work with a company that never produced a TV show," said Paul Greenberg, FYI's general manager. But he expressed complete confidence in Vox and Vox Entertainment, and in their partnership.

Distributed publishing is also a major priority for Vox Media, and on that front the company said Wednesday that the Snapchat Discover channel dedicated to will pivot to what it called a "big events" format. Essentially, rather than featuring content every day, it will provide content from across Vox's eight brands that is tied to a particular theme or event, designed to be of greater interest to a larger selection of Snapchat users.

Asked whether the channel will be clearly branded as Vox, and whether it will always run in Discover or come and go as events approach and end, a person with knowledge of the situation said that's still to be determined. The company is prioritizing impact over frequency, the person said.

Vox Media also announced several other tie-ins with NBC Universal, which last year invested $200 million in the company. SB Nation, the Vox Media sports destination, is working with NBC Sports to both develop and distribute content, including a digital video series, related to "Sunday Night Football" on NBC.

Curbed, the company said, will "curate a new home-themed section" on Bravo's website.

Also, Concert, the Vox/NBCU advertising partnership announced in early April, will incorporate Google's programmatic advertising technology. AT&T is Concert's launch partner.

Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff, who kicked off the presentation, once again hammered home the value of brands, especially in today's feed-first media environment.

"The biggest theme is that brands matter again," he said. "The signal to the audience that they are getting something authoritative, something that is authentic, something that is high-quality, is that brand."

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