History of The Onion and The A.V. Club
Onion, Inc., like most major publishing conglomerates, traces its roots to the teeming metropolis of Madison (Wisconsin’s second largest city). Onion, Inc.’s flagship property, The Onion, began publication in 1988.. The A.V. Club began life in 1993 as a “straight” news insert to The Onion, covering entertainment and culture. Both brands filled a void in the national conversation becoming massive hits from their inception. By 1996, The Onion and The A.V. Club were distributed nationally.
In the mid-‘90s, Onion, Inc. became one of the first national newspapers to start publishing on the world wide web. Over the next 20 years, Onion, Inc. expanded into film, television, radio, and web video, launching beloved properties like Onion Sports Dome, Onion News Network, and Today Now!.
Onion, Inc. Today
Despite Onion, Inc.’s long-standing commitment to Borders Books-based distribution models, the decision to discontinue print operations was taken in 2013, allowing the company focus all of its efforts on the growth of its fast-growing web properties. The final print issues of The Onion and The A.V. Club hit newsstands in December 2013.
In the years since The Onion’s transition to digital, traffic has increased by over 40%, and the reach of the Onion, Inc. portfolio has grown to over 30 million unique visitors per month.
While the smart, authentic points of view of publications like The Onion and The A.V. Club are what Onion, Inc. is best known for, the company is no stranger to subverting editorial integrity for the right amount of money. The desire to monetize the trust of our readers led to the establishment of Onion Labs in 2012. Since then, Labs has facilitated the creation of native and sponsored content for over 200 major brands.
Unsatisfied with running the best news and and pop culture sites on the web, Onion, Inc. continued to expand its portfolio into new verticals. In 2014 and 2015 Onion, Inc. launched three new properties: internet culture parody site, ClickHole, streaming video destination, Onion Studios, and celebrity gossip website, StarWipe.
Onion, Inc. publications have received a variety of impressive awards over the past 25 years. From the Thurber Prize for American Humor to whatever a Digiday Award is. In fact, Onion, Inc. publications have received so many Webbys that the company has run out of places to display them all.
- 23 Webbys in Humor and Video Categories
- Thurber Prize for American Humor
- Orwell Award for satire and "treatment of dramatically sensitive issues that plague our culture"
- Peabody Award for Onion News Network
- Digiday Award for Best Use of Social Media by a Publisher
- Humanist Media Award for the entire publication
- Chicago International Film Festival Television Awards show's first Commitment to Excellence in New Media Award
- New York Times Best Seller List for The Onion Book of Known Knowledge, Our Dumb Century, and Our Dumb World
- Pulitzer Prize *