Six months in, Defector seems like a sports activities media success story Six months in, Defector seems like a sports activities media success story
About six months after the launch was announced, Defector has become a media success story. This warranted some attention from Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, who praised the site for delivering the bold content sports media need today.
Along with former Deadspin employees who had stepped down from the site due to editorial interference from G / O Media (and the ousting of editors Barry Petchesky and Megan Greenwell), these writers and editors decided to do so for themselves and dedicated readers to gain the content that they had missed.
Connected: Ex-Deadspin writers are launching a temporary Super Bowl site, a sharp contrast to G / O Media’s attempted “Deadspin” reanimation
Defector immediately put that readership’s devotion to the test with a subscription-based model. Yes, they could have the old deadspin that they missed with the writers they enjoyed, but they’d have to pay for it. But that wasn’t a problem. Sullivan said more than 10,000 subscribers signed up when Defector was announced, and tens of thousands have signed up since then.
This is Defector, a new sports blog and media company from the writers you missed out on. We made this place together, we own it together, we bring it together. https://t.co/e1tkmewKA4 pic.twitter.com/v9JAHpCDrF
– Defector (@DefectorMedia) July 28, 2020
As more and more older and new media work with a paid model, readers no longer hesitate to pay for content as they might have been in the past. Sure, a lot of content can still be found for free. But increasingly online you have to pay for the good things. And Defector knew it had the good things.
More importantly, by generating subscription income, Defector was not indebted to business owners and advertisers. The authors were able to produce the content they felt was necessary without worrying about whether it violated or opposed an edict to “hold on to sport”. The site could be itself and sit back on its time at Gawker Media and just respond to that loyal audience.
I work at @DefectorMedia now!
– Laura Wagner (@laurawags), February 15, 2021
Currently, subscription revenues have enabled Defector to pay more than 20 employees a minimum salary of $ 50,000. Many people in the sports media would tell you that the pay is very good. The website has also expanded that staff, hiring former Deadspin reporter Laura Wagner along with Kalyn Kahler and editor Justin Ellis.
Editor Tom Ley told Sullivan that at the one-year limit of the site’s one year limit, there will be some concerns when these initial subscriptions need to be renewed. The addition of new employees and mainstream media recognition are two signs that Defector is one of the rare achievements in this current era of sports media. It’s refreshing to write about a point of sale without covering layoffs and downsizing.
Connected: “The balloon must always be pierced”: Tommy Craggs, Drew Magary, talks to Dan Le Batard about Deadspin’s great days
[Hat tip to Mediagazer]