The industry’s two biggest trade publications are now sister properties. In a deal announced this morning, Penske Media Corp., owner of Variety (as well as Rolling Stone and Music Business Worldwide), is partnering with MRC, owner of The Hollywood Reporter (as well as Billboard, Vibe, Deadline, WWD, SHE Media, Sportico, and Robb Report) to create the new joint venture PMRC. Variety was first to report the news.
It’s one of two deals the company’s respective CEOs—Jay Penske of PMC and Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk of MRC, formerly Valence Media—entered into effective today. The other is a content partnership that will be overseen by MRC, which, in addition to its media properties, produces TV shows, movies, and live shows, including the Golden Globes. In that deal, MRC will reportedly be tasked with “mining the collective brand IP across all of its content divisions including television, film, live and alternative and nonfiction.”
The PMRC deal makes TheWrap the only major Hollywood trade publication that’s not connected to Penske.
As Los Angeles reported back in July, a deal between the companies has been in the works for several months. At the time, both entities fervently denied insider reports about a potential deal.
While no staffing changes have been announced as yet, MRC CEOs Satchu and Wiczyk predicted the deal might cause “some anxiety.” In a letter to employees that was shared with Los Angeles, they wrote, “We’re really excited to share the breaking news below about partnering with PMC across media and long-form content, which gives us an incredible opportunity to expand and evolve the brands and their influence. We appreciate this will cause some anxiety, as well as some excitement, and look forward to sharing more information in the coming week and at our upcoming town hall [set to take place on October 2].”
The deal comes after several months of turmoil at THR. In April, editorial director Matthew Belloni exited abruptly over disputes with Wiczyk and Asif Satchu. Belloni was reportedly reluctant to skew reporting in favor of MRC vehicles, including Ozark and Knives Out. Following Belloni’s departure, THR laid off longtime publisher Lynne Segall along with about a dozen journalists, including veteran film critic Todd McCarthy. Shortly thereafter, the company jettisoned additional staff members across all of its media properties, including Billboard and Vibe. Wiczyk and Satchu had reportedly stopped taking salaries as the company looked to stem losses that reportedly total around $15 million a year.
More on the deal as the story develops.