News Corporation loses its religion


Beliefnet, an online community focused on faith and spirituality, has been sold by News Corporation, which acquired the religious Internet site in 2007. Terms were not disclosed.

BN Media, an entity that includes the investors behind Cross Bridge ( and Affinity4 ( announced Friday that it had bought Beliefnet ( from News Corporation.

The announcement said the acquisition builds on an existing relationship between Beliefnet and Affinity4, an affinity marketer that has raised more than $76 million in funding for charities, ministries and other nonprofit organizations by turning ordinary activities into extraordinary giving.  Cross Bridge features online distribution and monetization of audio-video content for nonprofits and charities.

“We recognized both the tangible assets of Beliefnet – its high-quality content, tremendously loyal community and its well-established brand – as well as the intangibles, in particular, its excellent reputation for providing high quality, diverse inspirational content reflecting a myriad of cultures, religious beliefs and secular philosophies,” said Steve Halliday, CEO of BN Media.  “We are where we want to be both in terms of the partnerships we are creating with content providers, distributors and advertisers, as well as with the relationships we are building with our audience.  We are very pleased with how our online community is growing and its representative demographics.”

“In our strategic planning, our long-term vision was to become a positive influence on our world, supporting nonprofits in their missions and providing uplifting content and programming that encourages positive thought and action and feeds the soul,” said Joseph R. Gregory, Chairman of BN Media. “Beliefnet’s mission is very complementary, in helping people find and walk a spiritual path that instills comfort, hope, clarity, strength and happiness. Together, we will be extremely powerful and transformative in the lives of those who log on to our sites.”

“This agreement will enable Beliefnet to effectively continue its mission to be the leading provider of inspiration, spirituality and faith-based online content in a multi-faith environment,” said Beth-Ann Eason, General Manager and COO of Beliefnet. 

She also sent an email to staffers noting that “We have also taken the difficult step of cutting a number of jobs from Beliefnet’s staff.” She lamented the loss of “a number of great people” but said the cuts were a “necessary step” for the company.

RBR-TVBR observation: With 20-20 hindsight it’s hard to see how Beliefnet ever fit into the business plan of News Corporation. It will certainly be a much better fit in a company that is focused on the religious media space.