The Hollywood Reporter and its sister magazines Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, Billboard and Backstage are up for sale again, according to sources who leaked an item to Claire Atkinson in Friday's New York Post.
Not so, insists Richard Beckman, who left his executive post at Conde Nast last year to become CEO of Prometheus Global Media, which publishes the five trade titles. The financing for the titles comes via Guggenheim Partners and Pluribus Capital. The publications were acquired in December 2009 by Prometheus, then called e5 Global Media, from Nielsen Business Media.
"I can reassure you that my partners at Guggenheim and Pluribus and I are committed to making Prometheus Global Media into a world-class media company," Beckman wrote in a Friday staff memo obtained by The Cutline. "We are only interested in expanding our business and not contracting or selling."
UPDATE: Over at The Wrap, Sharon Waxman reports that she has independently confirmed The Post's earlier report. "Of the five publications, Billboard is believed to be profitable," Waxman writes. "The Reporter - the big bet by Prometheus - is particularly mired in red ink." It's also worth noting that news of a possible sale comes just a day after it was announced that Prometheus backer Jimmy Finkelstein had acquired the media news website I Want Media in a separate personal deal.
You can read Beckman's the full memo below.
I just wanted to communicate with all of you, following the article that appeared today in the New York Post, as I would not like inaccurate allegations to create concern for any of you. Contrary to the article, I can reassure you that my partners at Guggenheim and Pluribus and I are committed to making Prometheus Global Media into a world-class media company. In fact, both Guggenheim and our Chairman Jimmy Finkelstein of Pluribus went on the record and stated that we are not for sale. Both Guggenheim and Pluribus wanted me to reassure you all that we are only interested in expanding our business and not contracting or selling Prometheus and we will continue to make significant strategic investments in helping us achieve this growth. To that end, I would like to take this opportunity to underscore some of the great progress we are making.
First, since we re-launched The Hollywood Reporter last November, advertising revenue for the months of November 2010 through February 2011 has increased 52% over the same year prior with significant growth on all circulation metrics. Further, our website, which was redesigned and re-launched by Razorfish at the same time, has shown exponential growth in web traffic, reaching it's highest historical level of 3.5 million unique visitors for the month of February as sourced by comScore, representing 868% year-over-year growth and placing it significantly ahead of all other entertainment industry websites. Most important, the new Hollywood Reporter has been praised by the entertainment community as the most exciting product to hit the industry for many years.
Billboard has gained on all fronts, with 2010 advertising revenue up 48%. That growth curve continues in 2011 with an increase of 78% for the first two months of this year compared to the same period a year prior. You are already aware we are readying for the commercial debut of Billboard Pro, an industry-changing dashboard to help undiscovered musicians with a tool to develop their careers. Further, on May 22nd, we will be launching our first televised network show in partnership with ABC — The Billboard Music Awards. These programs and other strategic initiatives to be announced will continue to develop Billboard into the most important brand in the music industry.
This April sees the reinvention and rebirth of the Adweek franchise. Last year was a strong year for the Adweek business, which achieved ad revenue growth of 24.5%, and on April 18th we will accelerate this progress with our re-launch of Adweek Media in print and digital to create a strong voice for this incredibly dynamic industry.
Finally, our Film Expo Group this spring launches the first ever Reality Rocks Expo, which will bring together the producers and casts of reality television. This exciting show will debut in Los Angeles and we are excited about it's short and long term possibilities.
In closing I will tell you that our growing success will make us an ever-increasing target for our competitors as they seek to undermine our efforts. But despite any irresponsible commentary on our progress I want to reassure you that we will continue to aggressively invest and grow Prometheus Global Media into an exciting and important business.
Thank you for your hard work and commitment.