New York Magazine's culture and entertainment brand Vulture.com is stepping up its third-annual Vulture Festival with a trio of new partnerships that show how a regional brand can boost event attendee and sponsor traction.
Outdoor advertising firm Outfront Media (formerly known as CBS Outdoor), comedy venue Carolines on Broadway, and Earwolf, the comedy podcast network co-founded by Scott Aukerman, comprise the first group of media partners for the festival's 2016 edition, slated to take place May 21-22 at Milk Studios in New York.
Galvanized by the success of the Vulture Festival's first two years—the 2015 event featured headliners Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Poehler, among others—parent company New York Media expects more than 10,000 attendees, many of them in the ever-coveted millennial demographic.
"Since Vulture was launched, we have had this very clear idea of who our audience is, and we felt that there was a live component to Vulture just waiting to be done," New York Media publisher Larry Burstein tells Folio:.
Like Vulture.com itself, the festival is a chance for the legacy magazine brand to branch out beyond traditional advertising revenues.
"It's a growing new revenue stream," Burstein continues. "It's not nearly as significant as advertising and subscriptions are at this moment, but it's important, as our digital business grows, to give people a live experience. I think that there's an interest and a demand for live experiences."
And the Vulture Festival is not alone. New York Media now produces a series of annual events under the banners of its media brands, including the Grub Street Food Festival, New York Taste, an annual New York Weddings event, and others.
As for this year's Vulture Festival, Burstein is optimistic about what each of the three new partners will bring.
In partnering with Outfront Media, the festival's organizers envision not only greater exposure for the event itself, but an added sales hook for potential sponsors.
"I'm able to go to sponsors and say, 'Hey, part of your involvement will include the exposure that we get with Outfront,'" says Burstein. "Not only will you reach the people who come into the festival or read about it online, but you will also be part of this outdoor campaign."
The partnership with Carolines on Broadway, one of the most recognized stand-up comedy venues in the world, is all about enhancing the festival's content. Vulture is partnering with Carolines EVP Andrew Fox to produce the show's comedy programming.
Says Burstein, "It's really going to ignite our comedy program. We've found that comedy is one of the most popular parts of the event, and so we really wanted to put some muscle behind it."
The Earwolf partnership, however, addresses the organizers' goals in both promotion and content creation. The producers of podcasts like "Comedy Bang! Bang!" will be on hand, recording new podcasts live from the festival, something Burstein describes as a win from multiple angles.
"It promotes Vulture's brand, it's another reason for sponsors to get involved, it's another reason for people to buy tickets, and it's more content for Vulture. It works all the way around."
Burstein says New York Media has grand ambitions for the Vulture Festival, ambitions that aren't necessarily confined to the one annual event. Although remaining tight-lipped on any specific plans for the future, preferring to focus on the upcoming event at hand, Bursein did offer a glimpse into what the company may have in mind going forward.
"The festival has become a very important part of the [Vulture] brand and the brand's identity, and it's something that's easily scaled. If we decide to do Vulture events throughout the year, it's the logical next step.