I’ve been running a lot this summer. I live in the New York metro area. I like sports.I also write about the magazine industry, and am blessed (or saddled, depending on your perspective) with a bit of an old-school mentality of journalistic integrity. That is, church-state separation, where magazine editors and ad salespeople are divided by Plexiglas and the cover is an untainted, pristine piece of real estate. (That wall, as you know, is crumbling every day, as the pressure mounts for more and more magazines to bridge the gap between editorial and advertorial, art and commerce.)It’s with this as a backdrop that I picked up a copy of the latest issue of Metro Sports, a free monthly magazine covering outdoor sports like running and rock climbing and mountaineering in the New York area. The company also publishes versions in D.C. as well as Chicago (Windy City Sports), Denver (Rocky Mountain Sports), Boston (New England Sports Mag) and elsewhere.The cover features Sarah Reinertsen, the first female leg amputee to finish an Ironman triathlon. She’s wearing one Nike shoe and a Nike t-shirt, with the words “Where Will You Be?” under the date “08.31.08” emblazoned on her chest. In the bottom left corner, Nike’s swoosh logo accompanies a cover line—“The Human Race 10K”—and a callout to “See page 12.” The inside cover features a two-page ad for Nike Plus’ “Human Race” taking place on, yes, August 31. On page 12, Bob Babbitt, publisher and founder of Gen-A, the magazine’s parent company, writes what only can be described as brochure copy for the event. (“Seventeen million runs have been logged on the site since early July. Some people have been running with music on their iPods, while folks who would rather do without tunes are logging miles with a Nike+ Sportband, All are pointing towards The Human Race.”)Product placement, particularly for outdoorsy titles, is nothing new. (See Outside’s treatment of a Bode Miller cover feature in 2006 just before the Winter Olympics.) But I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an advertiser’s logo incorporated into a cover line.But that’s the old-school mentality talking. As a “runner,” I wanted to know more about this Human Race thing. Didn’t matter if it came from Nike or a publisher pimping Nike. I didn’t care.This is rare, though. I can’t imagine I would have the same carefree attitude if Esquire or Vanity Fair or Wired ran a cover feature that read like marketing copy, or incorporated a movie’s logo into a coverline.But like I said, the walls are crumbling. And I wouldn’t be surprised.
Basketball hall of famer Magic Johnson might not have acquired Johnson Publishing’s Ebony and Jet, but the overall market for magazine-related M&A deals was certainly active during the first quarter of 2010. According to media investment bankers the Jordan, Edmiston Group, there were approximately 20 magazine M&A transactions through mid-March.“The mix was completely reversed, as consumer magazine deals accounted for 85 percent of total magazine deals in Q1 2009, but accounted for only 23.5 percent of total magazine deals in Q1 2010,” says JEGI CMO Adam Gross.What has been most notable, says Gross, is that private equity returned to the market as buyers of magazine assets during the quarter. Private equity groups over the last several months have absorbed mind-boggling losses as a growing list of publishers—including the Reader’s Digest Association, Source Interlink, Cygnus Business Media, and others—were forced into bankruptcy and their PE owners handed over control to lenders, taking a wash on millions of dollars in investments.Some prominent examples of PE-fueled deals during the first quarter were Seguin Partners’ January acquisition of CFO from The Economist Group, Spectrum Equity-backed Canon Communications buying four properties from Reed Business Information and Boston Ventures-backed Northstar Travel Media picking up five brands from Nielsen Business Media’s travel group. Reed Phillips, a managing partner at media investment banker DeSilva + Phillips, says there still were a number of smaller, distress deals during the quarter, pointing to Dow Jones buying up Hearst’s 50 percent stake in SmartMoney as significant because it “makes a statement that they are dedicated to that magazine even in a tough economic environment.” The deal effectively gives Dow Jones full ownership of the magazine.What’s in Store for 2010On the heels of a massive economic downturn, one can only wonder if magazine M&A will continue to pick up steam through the rest of the year. JEGI is confident it will. Gross says the firm believes the M&A market for magazines in 2010 is likely to be more active than it was in 2009 and the second half of 2008.“Private equity firms are sitting on nearly $500 billion and are looking to put up that capital to work through acquisitions, and the banks should be more cooperative in helping PE firms leverage their deals,” he says. Gross believes that large, global corporations will continue to divest the trade and consumer magazine assets they own that don’t fit within their core markets. He also thinks privately-held companies—whether owned by entrepreneurs or PE firms—that have been sitting on the sidelines also should come to market “as valuations improve and the buyer pool increases in line with a stronger economy.”“Add to this,” he says, “the fact that large, global corporations are holding unprecedented levels of cash on their balance sheets (S&P 500 companies have nearly $800 billion), and you can see why we anticipate a vibrant M&A market for magazines and other traditional and interactive media and information assets in 2010.”
More and more of the 23 shuttered Reed Business Information titles are finding new lives as deals continue to pop up that have their former RBI managers assuming ownership.RBI confirmed Tuesday that HOTELS publisher Dan Hogan acquired the title along with Foodservice Equipment and Supplies. Late last week, newly-formed CFE Media—headed by former RBI group publishers Jim Langhenry and Steven Rourke—acquired Control Engineering, Consulting-Specifying Engineer and Plant Engineering. And the four titles that were published under RBI’s Supply Chain Group have been acquired by Peerless Media, a company formed by ex-group publisher Brian Ceraolo and backed financially by EH Publishing.Financial terms of these deals—including whether or not the acquisitions were grouped together with severance packages—were not disclosed. But interested buyers of those shuttered brands who aren’t former RBI managers are being told by the company’s top management that no offers will be entertained until the company completes an internal auction process. In an e-mail obtained by FOLIO:, RBI executive vice president and CFO John Poulin tells one potential buyer that the company has been actively working with RBI management to “give them the opportunity to purchase the [intellectual property] associated with the publications before we considered any third party offers.” “To date, we have closed three transactions and have a few more to close this week,” he writes. “This will leave us with only a few unsold brands.”When contacted by FOLIO:, two other third parties who have expressed interest in acquiring some of the shuttered brands confirmed receiving the same e-mail. An RBI spokesperson declined to comment.In the e-mail, Poulin says RBI will contact interested buyers by May 10 in regard to purchasing any brands left unsold.RBI shuttered the titles last month after announcing nine months earlier that it was putting the majority of its U.S.-based properties back on the block. RBI sold off 20 titles which it says collectively accounted for approximately two thirds of the overall revenue of the portfolio it was divesting. Following the closures, a Reed spokesperson said the company would be open to discussions with potential purchasers of the intellectual property associated with any of the folded brands. But sources with direct knowledge of the sale process told FOLIO: that Reed never brought the 23 titles it shuttered to the open market.
Songkick: Concert Technology Tool To Shutter Operations Why Is Songkick Shuttering Operations? songkick-concert-technology-tool-shutter-operations Ticket-selling platform to fold at the end of October 2017Tim McPhateGRAMMYs Oct 16, 2017 – 9:39 am Songkick, the British-based company that allows fans to track their favorite artists and purchase concert tickets in a direct, will cease operation by the end of October 2017, according to a Variety report.Recently, Songkick has been engaged in a legal battle with Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, over allegations of antitrust violations and anticompetitive behavior. Though the company will no longer be in business, the litigation will continue. “I’m sad to write that on October 31, Songkick will bow to pressure from Live Nation and Ticketmaster and complete the shutdown of all ticketing operations (including the design and maintenance of artist web pages) we began earlier this year when Ticketmaster and Live Nation effectively blocked our US ticketing business,” founder/CEO Matt Jones wrote in a letter to the company’s clients. “Our antitrust, trade secret misappropriation and hacking lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster will continue unabated.”Founded in 2007, the company made its mark by selling tickets directly to fans via artist websites and fan clubs. According to its website, more than 15 million music fans worldwide use Songkick. Some of the many artists who have used Songkick’s ticketing infrastructure include Adele, Paul McCartney, Metallica, and Mumford & Sons. Nielsen: Radio Reaches 98 Percent Hispanic Listeners WeeklyRead more Twitter Email Facebook News
Now playing: Watch this: See at Amazon Save $20 3:53 The best tabletop board games for video gamersBest gifts for gamers going back to school Amazon has quietly put a big selection of high-end tabletop and board games on sale. This lineup is largely different from the (also excellent) Prime Day tabletop lineup, so if you didn’t find exactly what you were looking for then, you might see it be below. Post a comment 0 See at Amazon Save $22 I was waiting for this Lovecraft-themed game to get a deeper discount during Prime Day, but it never got more than a $10 cut. Now it’s a real bargain and takes the haunted-town vibe of the Arkham Horror game series to a global scale. The full list is available here, and below are my suggestions for some top picks. Note that these are potentially short-lived deals, so prices may change with little notice, and are probably good for today only, July 29. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Computers Computers Gaming Toys and Tabletop Games A great NYC update to the classic King of Tokyo game, this is a family-friendly kaiju romp, with enough depth to keep more serious gamers interested. Also, the comic-style art is awesome. Tags Iello See at Amazon See at Amazon Space Cadets: Away Missions, $39 Pandasaurus Games Amazon What’s that? Even with Arkham Horror (both board and card games), Eldritch Horror, Mansions of Madness and others, you still need more Lovecraft games? This one is based on one of Lovecraft’s best-known tales, sending you up an Antarctic mountain, where madness awaits. See at Amazon Fantasy Flight Games Eldritch Horror, $36 Iello Does the Nintendo Switch Lite make the 3DS irrelevant?… King of New York, $28 Ignore the $99 list price (it’s usually around $60), but know that $39 for this retro space adventure is still a great price . There’s a solid Star Trek: TOS vibe, with a shot of Mars Attacks, as you send crew members into the unknown. Literally unknown, as the maps of alien spaceships and planets are revealed one hex tile at a time. Stronghold Games Save $15 Share your voice Save $21 Wasteland Express Delivery Service, $37 I haven’t played this one personally, but I’ve heard good things about it. A mix of Fallout and Mad Max, the stars here are cool-looking minis of various wasteland vehicles, all delivering food, weapons and other survival gear, while watching out for raiders. Note that Amazon claims this is discounted from an MSRP of $90. It’s usually available for around $60, which still makes this a good deal. Save $23 Mountains of Madness, $25
The French government has given three of its ministers the task of reforming the country’s media and communications regulatory regime by bringing together media regulator the CSA and telecoms watchdog ARCEP.Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has asked culture and communication minister Aurélie Filippetti, digital economy minister Fleur Pellerin and productivity minister Arnaud Montebourg to come up with proposals for a more unified regulatory regime. However, the prime minister’s office said that any talk of an immediate merger between the CSA and ARCEP on the model of the UK’s Ofcom was premature at this stage. The trio are set to report in November.