How much of The Verge’s Mr. Robot coverage is even real?

How much of The Verge’s Mr. Robot coverage is even real?

Have you heard? Mr Robot is back. It’s a good show. Well, the first season was good at least. Really, you can believe me.

The Verge, on the other hand, I’m not so sure about.

About 3 weeks ago the site started ramping up their coverage of the obscure, though award-winning TV show.

There were ads in The Vergecast and Control Walt Delete and even podcast segments dedicated to the topic. Just last week the site featured a a glossy little story on the return of the show. There’s also been plenty of coverage of Mr Robot marketing, including a post about an early ‘leak’ of the first new episode and other campaigns in the lead-up to Robot’s season two premiere.

How Mr. Robot's creator took the reins of season two
How Mr. Robot's creator took the reins of season two By Sean T. Collins "I feel like he's, like, not a human being." …

The Verge covers culture and technology. And apart from perhaps the volume of coverage, these stories didn’t feel too far out of place.

Until now that is. From AdWeek yesterday:

USA and The Verge Team Up for a Weekly Live Digital Mr. Robot Aftershow Sparked by NBCU’s investment in Vox Media

Oh, right.

In 2015 NBCUniversal invested $200 million into Vox Media. NBCUniversal owns USA Network. USA Network shows Mr Robot. And now Vox Media’s site The Verge is going crazy over Mr Robot. Righhhhht.

But that’s not all. As well as the existing, extensive coverage, The Verge and Vox Entertainment will also be producing a weekly post-show live stream for the show:

The aftershow — the full title is Mr. Robot Digital After Show Hosted By The Verge — will be produced by The Verge and Vox Entertainment, filmed at the company’s New York studio and hosted by a trio of Verge staffers: editor in chief Nilay Patel, entertainment editor Emily Yoshida and reporter Russell Brandom, the site’s cybersecurity and tech expert. The hosts will analyze each episode, discuss the hacking and cybersecurity approaches utilized in that week’s show, while exploring the larger context and ramifications of creator Sam Esmail’s themes.
“They’ll talk about what you’re seeing on the show from a fan perspective, but also from a technology perspective. What’s realistic about these exploits, and is this something you should worry about in real life,” said Chad Mumm, vp, Vox Entertainment. Mr. Robot cast and crew members will also appear on the aftershow.

Now look, it’s one thing to share trailers and social media stories, and to discuss a TV show on a podcast. But where does The Verge, and more specifically Vox Media, draw the line when it comes to disclosure?

Apart from a Vergecast ad-read, Verge consumers have been left in the dark over Vox Media’s ties to USA Network and NBCUniversal. That big feature story? Not a peep about NBCUniversal. The Vergecast discussion? Nothing either.

And frankly, for a site just starting to build up their entertainment credentials this is a risky move.

How reliable will a Verge review of Mr Robot be if the season two sucks? How honest are editors opinions going to be on a post-show that’s being distributed via USA Network websites, featuring cast and crew. And how can Verge writers possibly give a subjective, unbiased opinion on Mr Robot when their coverage is being produced because it is “mutually beneficial for our respective businesses,” according to Alexandra Shapiro, evp, marketing and digital, entertainment networks for NBCUnversal Cable Entertainment.

Welcome to the future of media.