November 01, 2000

Behind the Scenes at Primedia's Acquisition of About, Inc.

SUMMARY: No summary available
This Monday print publishing giant Primedia acquired About,
the largest original content site on the Web with more than
400,000 articles. Although About and Primedia staff only
heard about the deal around 11:30pm EST Sunday night when they
were conference-called at home with the announcement,
Primedia's CEO Tom Rogers had been courting About's CEO Scott
Kurnitt for almost nine months. Rogers was hired by Primedia
about a year ago to bring the moribound print publisher (which
had less than 1% growth rate the preceding quarter) into the
21st century. The fact that he and Kurnitt were old buddies
since their respective days in the cable industry didn't hurt.

The companies are planning on a closer integration than most
traditional media companies have these days with their new
media spin-offs. In fact Primedia's 1,600 strong ad sales
force is expected to pitch right in selling their 60,000
mainly offline clients on buying ads in About's matching
vertical niche sites. Luckily many of About's 700ish verticals
overlap with Primedia's 700ish print properties. We expect a
lot of branded About content will find it's way into
Primedia's magazines fairly shortly. In fact plenty of
Managing Editors are probably getting their integration orders
from management any day now.

Both Primedia and About draw their strength from the fact that
they publish for niche, often hobbyist, verticals. Rogers
quipped about this during a conference call with the investor
community Monday, making a play on words referring to venture
capitalists' new favorite acronym P2P (Path to Profitability),
"We call it P2P: Passions to Pocketbook. What people are
passionate about is what they dip into their pockets and spend
on. That common theme of attacking the space is the essence
of what underlies the upside potential of this deal."

Improve Your Marketing

Join our thousands of weekly case study readers.

Enter your email below to receive MarketingSherpa news, updates, and promotions:

Note: Already a subscriber? Want to add a subscription?
Click Here to Manage Subscriptions