In 2014, as many traditional publishers continued to struggle financially, three digital media companies raked in big money: Vice Media, BuzzFeed and Vox Media.
"Startups are known for disrupting legacy media," Fortune reporter Dan Primack wrote.
With an estimated worth of US$2.5 billion, Vice co-founder Shane Smith hinted at an eventual initial public offering in an interview with the Financial Times. If Vice filed an IPO, it would join legacy news companies such as The New York Times Company, which currently has a US$2 billion market value. Vice and BuzzFeed also continued to expand worldwide rather than shutting down bureaus as many traditional news outlets have had to do.
Though Vox Media hasn't yet expressed interest in expanding internationally, the way it's growing its brand is something to watch in 2015. It's already worth US$380 million — US$130 million more than Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for in 2013.
In an interview with Fortune, Zach Kaplan, a General Atlantic vice president who will be on the Vox board of directors, said he couldn't think of "an original journalism company that has gone public in the past decade," but the "current crop (Vox, Vice, Buzzfeed, etc.) are poised to change that."
Here's a look at how these three media companies grew in 2014:
Main image CC-licensed by Flickr via Andrew Magill.