Brill Buys Inside.com Parent Powerful Media
NEW YORK – Financial terms weren't disclosed, but the deal announced Monday appears to ensure the short-term survival of Inside.com, which has won praise for its journalism but was expected to run out of money before the end of the year.
Brill plans to fold his own magazine into the recently launched print version of Inside, creating a new monthly media magazine called Inside Content. He said staff will be cut from both businesses as part of the merger, but he declined to say how many.
In addition, the Inside.com Web site will be used to entice readers interested in news of the media business into purchasing the data, newsletters and media trade publications that Brill controls.
Brill told reporters at a news conference Monday that the combined company would be "very hard and very tough in reducing costs. But the way we're going to make money is by making a good product and charging for it."
Primedia Inc., a major publisher of special-interest and trade magazines, has a role in the venture through its 49 percent ownership of Brill's company, Brill Media Holdings. Primedia has further involvement through its large array of media trade publications, which Brill controls through a separate entity, Media Central.
Powerful Media co-founder Kurt Andersen said there would be a "permeable membrane" between Primedia's media publications under Brill and the newly merged company to allow for sharing of editorial resources.
Andersen and Michael Hirschorn, editor of the Inside.com Web site, will remain as vice chairmen of Brill Media Holdings. Deanna Brown, the third co-founder of Powerful Media, is leaving.
The timing worked out well for Powerful Media, which had the bad luck to launch its media news Web site last May, just as the dot-com wave came crashing down. By linking up with a larger, well-established media venture, the site may have a greater chance at survival than stand-alone online media ventures such as Salon.com and TheStreet.com.
"We're very happy that our story has a new chapter," Andersen said. "I can't tell you that I'm anything but relieved."