The Media Weekly: Athletic start to the year for M&As, as Portugal’s Impresa is hacked

The New York Times came flying out of the blocks last week as it snapped-up subscription-based sports site, The Athletic. Meanwhile, there was less good news from Portugal, as the country’s largest media company, Impresa, fell victim to a significant cyber-attack. We’ve also got TikTokers on Netflix, magazines for the over 40’s, and sneak peek at the latest FIPP report scheduled to hit desks later this month! On your marks, Get Set… 

NYT acquires The Athletic

Proving once again that B2C models are all the rage, The New York Times (NYT) purchased subscription-based sports site, The Athletic, for US$550m last week. After nearly a year of discussions including a stalled agreement in the summer, the deal was finally done, and the sports site will now operate as a separate unit of the company with founders Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann, continuing to work on the platform. 

The core attraction for The New York Times is that The Athletic has majored on a paid-for content strategy and can boast 1.2 million subscribers as of December, with its team having also taken steps to build a significant international presence. The FT looks at the deal and the increasing shift from eyeballs to ‘Aye, sign me up!’ throughout the industry. 

Impresa falls victim to cyber-attack

Portugal’s biggest media company, Impresa, was the subject of a significant cyber-attack last week, as hackers not only brought down both the Expresso newspaper and SIC TV, but also reportedly published a ransom note on the company’s websites. Impresa is now believed to have full control of its publications back, but just one year on from the 6 January US Capitol Riots, it’s a timely reminder of the importance – and fragility – of a free and fair press.  

Netflix TikTok 

Now, if there’s one thing I like in the world of media, it’s a bit of intertextuality, and this next story brings an abundance: 

  • The Guardian, originally founded of course as a local UK print newspaper in 1821
  • And now a formidable online publication 
  • Runs with a story about a new show on Netflix
  • That has a reality TV format
  • And follows the trials and tribulations of a house full of TikTokers

You couldn’t make it up! But someone did… and Guardian Arts Writer, Adrian Horton, says that Hype House is: “to date, arguably the most prominent attempt to translate TikTok fame to the formulas of major streaming platforms.” 

It’s an interesting concept, brought to life by a fantastic bit of writing, and you can read the article in full here.  

Making magazines for over 40’s

Of course if you feel like that’s too many mediums intermingling at once, then you can always shut out the world, grab a piece of print, and bunker down for that hallowed magazine moment! In FIPP’s most popular article of the year to date by far, Reporter Pierre de Villiers speaks to South Africa’s Terena le Roux about magazines for the over 40’s… and by and large it’s fair to say that she’s not too pleased with them:  

“It’s all chairlifts and adult nappies,” says the publisher. “Sorry, but I’m in my 50s and I’m not vaguely interested in that. It sort of makes me feel angry when people speak to someone my age that that’s where they go. It’s like they skip 40 years.”

Le Roux has channelled her annoyance into Journal/Joernaal, a bilingual seasonal magazine published in English and Afrikaans that promotes the concept of ‘positive ageing’ and you can read all about it here

As for FIPP…  

On the reports side, we’ll be kicking things off with a BIG one this month… as Martha Williams, CEO of World News Media Network (WNMW) takes a look at the current state of play in the world of video. The report will include ‘Quick Bites’ on the likes of BILD, Babbel and Conde Nast, as well as longer form case studies from Meredith, Insider and others… As always, watch this space! 

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