Follow the bouncing brill
A couple of things are worth noting about the complicated coupling last month of Brill Media Holdings and Powerful Media, parent company of Inside.com.
First, Brill’s Content, the media watchdog magazine, is gone after June, replaced by an Inside Content hybrid that Steve Brill has described as “a high-end business magazine for the new leaders in the media world.” Ad sales at Content never took off as hoped, according to an Inside.com report, in part because the magazine saw itself as a consumer publication but was viewed more as a trade.
Second, the deal turns on a new wrinkle in the effort to find business models that work online. The idea is to tap the relatively stable (employers often get the bill) world of trade magazines and newsletters. In January, Brill and Primedia struck a deal that made Brill part owner and c.e.o of Media Central, a Primedia subsidiary that houses media trade publications such as Folio and Cable World.
Now, inside.com becomes a portal site to these publications, and its own juicy stories will be used to entice Media Central readers to pay a little more for additional material. For example, subscribers to Cable World would also get access to a section on the Inside site that covers cable, and could get access to other sections at reduced rates.
Still, Brill is banking on the willingness of readers to pay for online content. We’ll see.
Copyright Columbia University, Graduate School of Journalism May/Jun 2001
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