Digital Magazine Publishers Sell to Other Media Companies

Gothamist and Atlanta Magazine publishers sell titles; Us Weekly eyed by Tronc

Acquisitions, and a potential acquisition, continue during the first quarter of 2017 for magazine publishers.

The first report involves the Gothamist, which was bought by DNAinfo. AdWeek reports, “DNAinfo is expanding its local news footprint after striking a deal with Gothamist LLC to purchase the city-based-news network’s quintet of sites, which cover local news and culture in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington.”

“DNAinfo will designate the flagship site, Gothamist, and the Chi-Town based Chicagoist as the official blogs of its New York and Chicago sites, the two cities where DNAinfo currently maintains a presence. They will keep their own URL as they take on events, arts and food coverage. LAist, SFist, and DCist will remain for the moment as standalone sites covering Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, respectively, and are likely to serve as an entry point for future expansion in those cities.”


Some staffing will remain the same as Gothamist’s co-founders will work with DNAinfo. “Gothamist’s co-founders, Jen Chung and Jake Dobkin, who started the flagship in 2003, will take on new roles within DNAinfo. Chung, who has been Gothamist’s executive editor, will be vice president of New York editorial, and Dobkin, Gothamist’s publisher, will be vice president for strategy and expansion. They will both report to DNAinfo’s just-promoted Dan Swartz, who was bumped to vice president and chief operating officer from chief marketing officer.”

We move to different magazine publishers as Atlanta Business Chronicle reports on the sale of Atlanta Magazine to Hour Media Group. “Emmis Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: EMMS) sold Atlanta, Cincinnati, Orange Coast and Los Angeles magazines to Hour Media Group LLC for $6.5 million.”

“As Atlanta Business Chronicle reported first in February, Indianapolis-based Emmis placed all its city and regional magazines on the market to pay down debt. It owned Atlanta Magazine for 23 years.”

The article continues about future strategy for the newly-bought publication. “We are no longer just a one-publication business,” he said. “Atlanta Magazine is the brand that carries us, and it affords us the opportunity to grow new titles. We have another dozen custom media publications, and we have digital. Lastly, we have our events portfolio.”

We end with the sale of Us Weekly to American Media for an estimated $100 million. The New York Times reports, “On Wednesday, American Media Inc., publisher of The National Enquirer and Radar Online, announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Us Weekly from Wenner Media, which has owned it since 1985. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but two people who were briefed on the deal but requested anonymity because the terms were not public said the price was $100 million.”

According to NYT, “Us Weekly has struggled in the digital age. Once a powerhouse whose editors included Janice Min and Bonnie Fuller, the magazine had a roughly 30 percent decline in newsstand sales in the second half of 2016 from the same period a year earlier, according to publisher’s statements filed with the Alliance for Audited Media.” Gus Wenner has said that a portion of the sale will pay off the debt Us accrued.

“By selling Us Weekly, Wenner Media has further shifted its business away from print,” NYT continues. “Without Us Weekly and its 110 staff members, Wenner Media will be significantly smaller. The magazine brought in 65 percent of the $330 million that Wenner Media generated in revenue for the year that ended in June, according to a report in October from Moody’s Investor Service. Rolling Stone produced 27 percent of the company’s revenue, and Men’s Journal contributed 8 percent.

We will continue to report on acquisitions and mergers of magazine publishers and media companies going forward.


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