Maven Media, which runs the publishing companies of Sports activities Illustrated and TheStreet, has tapped digital-media veteran Rob Barrett as president of media.
Barrett experiences to Maven CEO Ross Levinsohn. All of the corporate’s media manufacturers, together with SI and TheStreet, and editorial groups report back to Barrett, who will stay primarily based within the New York space. He began at Maven Media on Feb. 16.
In 2019, Genuine Manufacturers Group bought Sports activities Illustrated from Meredith for $110 million (after Meredith purchased Time Inc.). ABG then licensed media and publishing rights for the SI model to Maven. Additionally in 2019, Maven purchased TheStreet for $16.5 million in money.
Sports activities Illustrated has gone by means of a number of rounds of layoffs after the change in possession, together with a 25% discount in workers shortly after Maven closed its take care of ABG. COVID-19 inflicted an extra hit on Maven’s enterprise, resulting in extra cutbacks. (Maven declined to reveal present headcount figures for the corporate or its manufacturers.)
Barrett joins Maven from Hearst, the place he labored for 5 years as president of digital for the media firm’s newspaper group. Beforehand, Barrett led Yahoo’s information and finance group, when Levinsohn served as interim CEO and head of media. Barrett additionally has labored at Tribune Co. as EVP of interactive and as head of the L.A. Instances’s digital group, as effectively as ABC Information, the place he was managing producer of ABCNews.com, and at Time Inc., the place he helped launch the primary time.com web site within the ’90s.
“Rob is a visionary chief within the media area. His work at Hearst, Yahoo, Tribune and ABC Information is effectively documented,” Levinsohn mentioned in a press release. “I couldn’t be extra excited to have him be part of our unbelievable editorial groups at Sports activities Illustrated and TheStreet to take us to the following stage.”
Barrett mentioned he has confidence that, underneath Levinsohn, “there’s actual potential for this firm to take off.” In January alone, SI.com drew greater than 38 million on-line readers, the most important month-to-month viewers in website historical past, in line with the corporate. Earlier this month, SI launched a web-based paywall, with digital subscriptions beginning at $5.99 per thirty days; the publication says breaking information and SI Swimsuit Version content material is at all times free and guests to SI.com may have “an allotment of free articles per thirty days.”
Sports activities Illustrated’s circulation of its now-monthly print version has plummeted — from 2.8 million in Could 2019 to 1.6 million by December 2020, per the Alliance for Audited Media — however it stays a key half of the enterprise, Barrett mentioned. TheStreet, in the meantime, grew subscription income 30% in 2020.
“My constitution is to develop these manufacturers’ subscriptions and promoting companies,” Barrett mentioned. “A big half of my job is to proceed driving development at SI and TheStreet, and for that to profit the broader community of companions.”
Requested whether or not Sports activities Illustrated has a morale downside at this level, Barrett mentioned, “Ross has executed a unbelievable job of addressing the sooner points and investing in editorial.” He famous that SI’s current hires have included Chris Almeida, previously of the Ringer; Howard Beck, beforehand with the New York Instances; Kate Fagan, former ESPN correspondent; and former FiveThirtyEight contributor Michael Pina.
Levinsohn took over the CEO spot at Maven final August, changing founder James Heckman. On the similar time, the corporate raised $24 million in financing from backers together with B. Riley Monetary, 180 Diploma Capital, Invenire Capital Companions, TCS Capital Administration and Hunt Know-how Ventures.
Seattle-based Maven says it reaches 150 million month-to-month customers by means of SI and TheStreet and through its enterprise to supply the technical platform and monetization for greater than 275 manufacturers together with Historical past, Biography, Maxim and Ski Journal.
Maven’s inventory is traded over-the-counter however in line with its regulatory filings it isn’t required by the SEC to report monetary outcomes as a result of it’s a “smaller reporting firm” (which both has public inventory price lower than $250 million; or lower than $100 million in annual revenues and no public float or public float of lower than $700 million).