CEO Still Mum on Plans for e5 Media Brands
Whatâ€™s in store for The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Adweek, etc. ?
UPDATE: Hollywood Reporter Becomes Glossy Weekly
What exactly is going on at e5 Global Media? Thatâ€™s the question thatâ€™s been at the top of certain peopleâ€™s minds since the private equity-backed media startup acquired Nielsen Business Mediaâ€™s eight media/entertainment industry brands late last year.
The new groupâ€”formed by Pluribus Capital Management and financial services firm Guggenheim Partnersâ€”poached CondĂ© Nastâ€™s Fairchild Fashion Group CEO Richard Beckman [pictured] to lead the group as chief executive. When he took the new gig Beckman, who is known as â€śMad Dogâ€ť among many of his colleagues, said it would be his job at e5 to build those acquired brandsâ€”including The Hollywood Reporter and Billboardâ€”into â€śsuccessful multiplatform properties with global footprints.â€ť
A number of â€śsmallerâ€ť media companies like e5 are picking up print magazine brands that have either been shut down or run into the ground financially by their former big conglomerate trade publishing owners. But how do they expect to succeed where the publishing behemoths failed? How will they compete with their online-only rivals?
Not much has been reported about whatâ€™s in store for the e5 brands, other than reports indicating plans to transition The Hollywood Reporter from a weekday paper into a glossy weekly. So, I attempted to interview Beckman for a story on this topic. I wanted to find out what changes/innovations he is making to help turn the brands around. How much of an additional investment will be required? How will those changes equal financial success?
Beckman politely declined to participate in my interviews, indicating that heâ€™d have â€śplentyâ€ť of details in a couple months. To be fair, I'm not sure that many of these new owners have real concrete courses for growthâ€”at least not yet.
Beckman however did recently do a Q+A with Daily Front Row executive editor and former Radar writer Chris Tennant. While he didnâ€™t get into any business-side specifics, Beckman did offer some interesting sound bites on the future of THR. Hereâ€™s a sampling:
â€śIf Iâ€™m setting the bar at where Variety isâ€”and this is going to sound really causticâ€”Iâ€™m setting the bar too low.â€ť
â€śThe good part is you get to look around and see people who Âclearly arenâ€™t doing their jobs so Âterrificallyâ€”that havenâ€™t had good leadership, that are unimaginative, that have had a parent company that hasnâ€™t invested or believed in the businessâ€¦â€ť
â€śBut in terms of the Reporter, I sort of agree with you that itâ€™s tough to be contemporary with a daily print product when youâ€™re working on a five-minute-refresh cycle. Itâ€™s not the best way of serving media content, but you canâ€™t have one without the other.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s about becoming B2Iâ€”business to influencerâ€”as opposed to B2B. Thatâ€™s where the real resonance will be created. B2I trades arenâ€™t just for the industry; theyâ€™re for the people that shape behaviors, the tastemakers that set the trends in motion.â€ť
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