Monday, July 14, 2008

BPN 1158 The Guardian buys ContentNext

The Guardian News & Media acquired ContentNext Media, amongst others the online publisher of the newsletter The US company was looking for a second round of investments, but found a buyer in Europe.

Rafat Ali, after a life in newsletters for venture capitalists started the online daily free newsletter paidContent in the USA in 2002. He used the name paidContent as a statement. At that time content was king, but not paid for. The newsletter kept up with deals by traditional publishers, hybrid publishers and movie producers. He soon started the newsletter and started ContentSutra in India. His latest venture was paidContent:UK, which has to serve the UK and Europe. ContentNext's business model of the newsletters is a mix of advertising, selling reports and organising events; especially the calendarized events are more significant.

All the activities were undertaken from the ContentNext Media company, based in Santa Monica. The company made some rounds to pick up money. But the only real investor has been Alan Patricof’s Greycroft Partners, which invested an undisclosed amount in 2006. BoomTown broke the news and reported that the transfer sum was above 30 million US dollar; the Guardian News & Media did not comment on the acquisition sum.

ContentNext Media will be part of Guardian Professional group, which is the B2B media division for GNM, and runs targeted sites such the MediaGuardian, as well as online data businesses and conferences. This starts the 2.0 phase of our company ContentNext Media: we will remain a stand-alone business under GNM. This also marks a major expansion of Guardians U.S. presence; it already runs the Guardian America website, focused on U.S. audiences.

ContentNext Media was planning another round of funding and were not out shopping the company but when Guardian approached us, all the pegs fit into the right holes: a company that will help us scale, add to our existing portfolio of products, and most importantly, help keep our integrity intact. For the team, the biggest consideration was working with a media company known for its journalistic integrity, its long-term view of businesses and its international outlook in editorial coverage as well as business.

I have been in contact with Rafat Ali several times since he started his newsletter and met Rafat him amongst others when he addressed the MindTrek audience in Tampere (Finland) in 2003. I admired him his push and élan setting up the newsletters. I hope he will now have time and money to set up a pan-European content newsletter. Many people never come further than the one slogan: Content is King and never can describe the content discipline. But Rafat knows the whole content field, publishing models and business models. Congratulations Rafat and well done for the ContentNext Media crew.

Blog Posting Number: 1158

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