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Online publisher Mic has hired its first head of video as it places a greater focus on the visual medium this year.
The New York-based news website has promoted Shelley Venus into the role, where she will oversee Mic’s video properties, manage production and develop new franchises and formats. Venus, who reports to executive editor Madhulika Sikka, is overseeing a team of 12 directors, producers, writers and talent.
Venus, a former producer at Fox Business Network and Bloomberg TV, joined Mic in 2014 as director of video development and oversaw the launch of the publisher’s video arm in spring last year with the web series Flip the Script. Over the last 10 months, the division has more than doubled from its initial five employees and has expanded to four original series.
The first season of Flip the Script, which is posted by senior correspondent Liz Plank, has more than 33 million views across Mic‘s website and other distribution channels, including Facebook and YouTube, while the second season has just over 10 million views.
In January, Mic debuted daily short-form news series Mic Check and investigative reporting series The Movement, in which host Darnell Moore explores the social issues impacting underserved communities.
Founded in 2011 as PolicyMic, the company has focused on news for millennial audiences and has grown to 30 million monthly unique visitors, with two thirds of its audience in the United States. In June last year, the company raised $17 million in funding as part of an aggressive expansion that will see its newsroom grow to more than 100 people.
Like many digital publishers — among them, BuzzFeed, Vox and Mashable — Mic is also betting that video will drive new growth, especially as the medium takes off on platforms like Facebook and is attracting bigger advertising spends. The company plans to roll out several new projects and increase its presence on over-the-top platforms in 2016.
“We are focused on developing high-quality video content for a premium audience of college-educated young people,” said Sikka. “Shelley understands and embodies what Mic stands for. Her tenure puts her in the best position to lead our video efforts from both a strategic and editorial point-of-view, and we’re excited to grow the department under her helm.”
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