Way back when I was in college walking twenty miles uphill in the snow just to use one of the few computer labs that was actually hooked up to the Web, my digital media professors wisely impressed upon us that e-mail, the mighty cockroach of the Net, impervious to nuclear-grade business setbacks, would never go out of business, even when multimedia CD-ROMs were being prepped as props for a VH1 nostalgia special. That may be why media company the Pilot Group is continuing to invest in mailing lists as a slow-and-steady source of revenue while we bloggers may also be prepped as props for a VH1 nostalgia special in a few years:
Daily Candy, of course, a darling of the early 2000s, was on the block less than a year ago. Investors wanted to recoup money and Mr. Pittman, who dropped $3.5 million for a controlling stake in 2003, was reportedly seeking a $100 million price tag. It had to return some capital to shareholders — some cashed out, some cashed in. It is not for sale today, said CEO Pete Sheinbaum.
Its various editions today boast a collective 2.5 million subscribers (900,000 unique) and has spawned a crop of imitators: In late 2004 a pair of recent college grads conceived a male-focused version, Thrillist.com, and sold the idea to Pilot Group for $250,000 in 2005; two years later they have 110,000 subscribers among New York, Los Angeles and national editions. That same year Ideal Bite launched as an e-mail newsletter targeting what it calls the “light green crowd” (the “person … who wants to do the right thing but isn’t sure what that is and doesn’t want to give up some creature comforts,” explained co-founder Heather Stephenson). Its subscriber base (which totals 150,000) is growing at a 12% monthly clip.
At Pilot, the main investment sector is broadcast-TV affiliates, although the firm has begun to invest in other online businesses, such as music blog Stereogum and Facebook’s popular social-music application iLike.
There’s your music blog connect, in case you were wondering.
Still, as the Advertising Age article notes towards the end, I’ve personally known several people who have already ditched MySpace and/or Facebook once already only to have to re-sign up once they realized how little people were e-mailing these days. And these are people in their supposedly stodgy mid-30s, not teenagers who take new tech for granted. E-mail’s not going anywhere as a safe alternative, but why would the Pilot Group be investing in networking sites and music blogs if it didn’t see things trending at least partially in that direction? (As for the continuing potential of blogging in general, it would be gauche of me to speculate. Cough, cough.) I mean, would y’all prefer an Idolator e-mail blast or what?
A Single Platform Player Surviving In A Multi-Platform World [Advertising Age]