Vox drops its own CMS after exiting tech supply venture

By: Rob Corbidge, 19 July 2023

Vox Media is rationalising its technology estate

Following a decision to refocus on its successful publishing business, Vox is to drop usage of its own proprietary Content Management System - which until recently was a standalone business unit offering the tech to third-party publishers.

Vox Media has now dropped its proprietary Chorus Content Management System from use in powering its own websites, following a decision to refocus the business and fully exit the CMS technology sector.

Vox began licensing the system in 2018 and picked up a number of clients. In December 2022 customers were told that Vox would be discontinuing licences for the CMS, and that they would be given 18 months to re-platform. Now, Vox is mothballing Chorus for its own products too.

"Vox Media has made the decision to wind down our Chorus SaaS business to better focus our company’s resources on supporting our industry-leading editorial brands, and where we see opportunities for immediate and long term growth," a spokesperson for Vox Media told Adweek at that time.

Axios reported that Vox would be now be focusing on "monetizing its own audience engagement".

Back in 2018, Vox were bullish about the prospects for their tech, telling the WSJ: "We’re providing a suite of enterprise-grade services that combine to create a large platform for brands that need strong tools to manage everything from content creation to monetization." 

Speaking of the decision, Merrill Brown, editorial director at G/O Media and a veteran of the CMS business, told Axios: "If you're not a tech company, it's really hard to do this. It's really hard to service it. It's really hard to maintain it."

As a creator and supplier of headless CMS to the publishing industry, any retreat by any publisher is not something we generally welcome.

Yet the fact is publishers who have attempted to straddle the line between being a tech concern and a publishing company have largely not been able to do so. It is simply a question of focus.