Media Insider: Forbes Explores Sale, CNN Profits Fall, Sun-Times Drops Paywall
Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.
Forbes Explores Sale After SPAC Deal Collapses
New York Times | Benjamin Mullin and Lauren Hirsch
Forbes is exploring a sale of its business after a previous deal to go public fell through. In recent weeks, an offering document describing Forbes’ financials compiled by Citigroup was circulated to media companies, including Yahoo. According to the document, Forbes generated more than $200 million in revenue and more than $40 million in profit in 2021 and is exploring selling for at least $630 million. That is the valuation that the company declared when it moved to go public through a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Forbes scrapped that plan this year and it is unclear whether it can get that price now.
Also from the Times: Antenna Group emerges as bidder for Vice Media.
CNN’s profits seen dipping below $1B for first time since 2016
New York Post | Alexandra Steigrad
CNN’s profits are poised to drop below the $1 billion mark for the first time since 2016 as its new boss scrambles for new ways to generate revenue. Chris Licht, who took the helm of CNN three months ago after the surprise exit of former chief executive Jeff Zucker, has not only inherited a scandal-scarred network but is also running a channel with slumping ratings. The cable news network’s profitability is on pace to decline to $956.8 million this year, according to projections from S&P Market Intelligence. That’s well short of the company’s internal target of $1.1 billion.
BuzzFeed goes to court against ex-employees
Axios | Dan Primack
BuzzFeed and more than 90 of its former employees remain locked in a legal fight over the company’s public listing last December, during which the ex-employees claim to have been improperly prevented from selling their shares. The two sides are currently bickering over venue, and the outcome could be consequential for other companies that go public via SPAC. The ruling could cause aftershocks in startup HR departments across the country.
More from Axios: Guatemalan police have arrested the president of elPeriódico newspaper, prompting an international outcry.
Chicago Sun-Times Said to Be Tearing Down Its Paywall
MediaPost | Ray Schultz
The Chicago Sun-Times, which instituted a paywall last December, is emerging from beyond that wall. The nonprofit plans to drop the paywall and launch a membership program, according to online reports. This is a model widely used by nonprofits. It follows by several months the acquisition of the Sun-Times by Chicago Public Media, owner of WBEZ Chicago, Chicago’s NPR station. The paywall was built on a metered plan in which users would get 20 free pageviews every 30 days and be charged for anything beyond that.
Ex-Politico reporter launches food industry publication
Talking Biz News | Chris Roush
Former Politico reporter Helena Bottemiller Evich has launched Food Fix, a publication dedicated to food policy in Washington and beyond. The first edition includes new details about a big evaluation of the FDA’s foods program, featuring an exclusive interview with FDA Commissioner Robert Califf. The agency’s review was in part sparked by Evich’s deep dive into agency dysfunction published by Politico in April. Kicking off as a twice-weekly newsletter, Food Fix will be part subscription-based, part-free, with the goal of serving both a more traditional B2B audience and the B2C audience that is often overlooked.
Another interesting read: Podcast guests are paying up to $50,000 to appear on regular shows.
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