An Unlikely Trade Marriage Is Consummated


On August 8, 2006, Radio & Records officially became a part of the Billboard family, as its then-owner VNU acquired the venerable trade publication from investor Richard Perry. It was an unlikely deal that many saw coming three years earlier.

Now, another unlikely marriage has taken place within view of the Hollywood sign. And, it is perhaps even more striking, considering its impact on the TV and film industries.

Penske Media, owner of Variety and such publications as Rolling Stone, has formed a publishing and content venture with MRC, the parent of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter.

It brings the Reporter and Variety — fierce rivals through the end of the 2010s — under the same building.

Penske (PMC) will lead the operations for the publications, essentially putting the wedding ring of Variety on THR.

Meanwhile, the future of Rolling Stone charts — designed to compete against Billboard — may see cross-pollination of the two longtime music industry brands.

In turn, MRC will focus on using content production assets including Dick Clark Productions to develop new content and business opportunities taken from the intellectual property managed by PMC.

To be clear, it is not a merger. Penske and MRC will remain independent operations. Penske’s widely read online publication Deadline is excluded from the joint venture.

PMC purchased Variety in 2012; The Hollywood Reporter has been an MRC property since 2018 and converted to weekly from daily distribution in 2010 after being acquired by private investment group Guggenheim Partners.

Other publications in the TV industry space include struggling brands Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable, now within the “Next TV” rubric under London-based owner Future Plc., which acquired the trades from NewBay Media.