This week we’re kicking things off with industry reaction to the high-profile IAC-Meredith deal, while The Flock gives us an exclusive insight into what ad-free success looks like… we’ll also take a look at Captain Kirk in space, and a global music industry currently experiencing its very own sonic boom… join us for the most Kirk Shatneringly comprehensible round-up in global media today!
IAC Meredith Deal: Background, analysis, and industry reaction
On Friday, we published an in-depth look at the recent IAC-Meredith deal, which will see InteractiveCorp acquire the US magazine giant for US$2.7bn. Merging Meredith with an existing IAC brand, the holding company will create a new entity called Dotdash Meredith. This combined effort is set to reach 175 million online consumers monthly – including 95% of US women – and enter comScore’s Top 10 list of US internet properties.
James Hewes, President & CEO of FIPP, said: “As predicted, the pace of M&A activity in our industry continues to gather speed and now it includes the biggest name in American magazine media. Meredith, with its unparalleled connections to American female audiences, has long been an attractive prize and the prospect of uniting these with its own considerable audience scale will have been a prime motivating factor for IAC.”
“It’s also encouraging to see a large digital business acquiring a company that still has such a large presence in print. These continue to be exciting times for our industry and the wealth of new opportunities presented by this deal will be fascinating.”
And speaking of Meredith, the company will on Wednesday be hosting a joint webinar with the MPA titled ‘The Power of Magazines: Holding Space for Women’. You can find out more on that one here.
The Flock is ad-free, and flying high
Another article that’s currently proving popular on FIPP.com, is Sadie Hale’s interview with The Flock Founder, Jennifer Crichton. Created during the UK’s first lockdown and launched on 1 June 2020, the publication produces inquiring stories for a mostly female audience. It quickly acquired a loyal readership interested in feminism, social affairs and conscious consumerism, and has gone on to win multiple awards, including the Freelance Writing Awards Freelance Project prize, Creative Edinburgh’s Start Up of the Year 2020, as well as being longlisted for a UN Women special recognition prize.
With no advertising, an innovative “pay it forward” subscription model and news round-ups that prioritise stories relevant to readers, a large part of The Flock’s appeal is the way it so successfully embodies the values of its core audience. You can read the full article here.
Starfleet is launched
And of course as both an avid space and Star Trek fan, I couldn’t let the news of Captain James T. Kirk’s very first real life mission to the stars go by unreported. Starfleet was officially launched last week as the Enterprise Captain AKA William Shatner blasted off on Blue Origin’s second human space flight.
There was meticulous coverage from CNN, as well as a site and social livestream. Shatner’s post-flight recount of the experience to Jeff Bezos proved to be more poignant than any Star Trek script in the franchise’s 55 year history, so much so that Guardian Writer, Matthew Cantor, penned a piece titled: ‘This comforter of blue’: how Shatner’s blast into space became an ode to Earth.’
I actually think now having watched that, it’s made up my mind that I prefer Star Trek to Star Wars! Bold statement I know.
Blackstone’s back… Alright!
Doesn’t really work… but a subhead attempt there to capture the excitement emanating from the sonic boom currently taking place in the global music industry right now. Blackstone, one of the world’s most established private equity groups, is to set up a new investment vehicle aimed at buying up music catalogues, which will be managed by Hipgnosis. The latter has been running around buying up songs for some time now, and owns the rights to the works of artists like Neil Young, 50 Cent, and Shakira. The FT has the full story here.
We actually spoke to Bridgeman Images last week, in a look at artist content ownership and copyright more broadly. Artist Manager, Aretha Campbell, told us: “Yeah we’re no different from the music publishing industry. I mean when I speak to somebody and they don’t know much about the artworld or what we do, maybe they know about music, and I think that’s a really good comparison. Bridgeman images is art publishing, just like music publishing, and it’s very similar to how you work with royalties, licensing, and of course copyright is hugely important.” You can read that one in full here.
As for FIPP…
We are busy little bees right now, with event planning and trainings galore. But it was last week’s announcement of FIPP Congress 2022 that really seemed to capture the imagination amongst our network. That right, next year will see us staging a REAL LIFE Congress format, to take place in Portugal in June. It will be a welcome return to meetings, networking and interacting with colleagues from across the world, and you can find out further details here.