As the digital media world reels from coronavirus’ economic impact, many a publisher out there is wondering if they’re going to need a bailout. Before the economy flew into a tailspin, private equity firms were scooping up familiar digital media titles, and these investors likely will take further interest in the space once the pandemic has ravaged it.
The bad experiences with private equity ownership have gotten a lot of press, and made some in the industry nervous. The stereotypical investor demand of “revenue at any cost!” feels especially off as a host of online privacy initiatives from browsers and regulators puts publishers and their audiences into a tense spot when it comes to user expectations.
About a month before the 50th Publisher Forum in Santa Monica, up-and-coming private equity firm Next Management Partners bought SPIN, a brand I knew well—in fact, recommendations from the magazine provided the soundtrack to a lot of my adolescence. It so happened we knew Jimmy Hutcheson, CEO of Next Management Partners and now CEO of SPIN, because he’d attended a few AdMonsters events—he has a background in publisher revenue management and strategy.
We couldn’t have asked for a better person to have a candid conversation about private equity and digital media—the attraction to the space, what revenue channels appear most lucrative, and why some private equity relationships with media companies have gone sour. More over, Hutcheson discussed the inner workings of private equity firms, how revenue teams could best communicate with ownership, as well as the opportunities for taking a media revenue background into the world of investing.
You’ll find more videos from the 50th PubForum at our Vimeo channel.