(The part that might interest Everythingians is way below in bold. For more E2 news sightings, see Everything in the news.)
Advance and Feed Launch New Venture, Automatic Media
Lycos Takes 25% Equity Stake in New Company; Suck.com Becomes Automatic Media Site
Media Veteran Lee deBoer is named CEO of New Company http://www.automatic-media.com
Automatic Media press release, from PR Newswire and Yahoo! News.
NEW YORK, July 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Advance.net and the founders of FEED magazine (www.feedmag.com) announced today the formation of Automatic Media (www.automatic-media.com), a new company that will build an online network of sites, services, and applications tailored to the Web's most sophisticated users. The company will be led by Lee deBoer, former president of HBO International and CEO of New Century Network.
Lycos, Inc. has taken a 25% equity stake in the new company. In addition, Suck.com, the acclaimed satirical Web site acquired by Lycos in 1998, has become part of Automatic Media's new network. Both Webby-award nominees, FEED and Suck launched in 1995, and are widely considered two of the Web's most influential publications.
Automatic Media also announced the acquisition of Alt.Culture, the online encyclopedia of alternative-culture. Together the network sites attract more than one million monthly visitors. Automatic Media is expected to add more sites in the coming months.
In addition to a growing number of editorial partners, the network will soon add extensive e-commerce and community features, and will feature cutting-edge Web-based applications tailored to its audience. The company also announced today a partnership with the creators of Slashdot.org to develop and expand their "Everything2" software, a community and information management tool that will be integrated into the network.
All the sites in the new network will share a single common national advertising sales force, as well as other technology and administrative resources, but they will retain their respective brand names, publishing schedules, and editorial teams.
Lycos' commitment will also include a significant distribution agreement that provides Automatic content premier placement throughout the Lycos Network. Initial funding for the company comes from Advance Publications, Inc., parent of Advance.net, Lycos Ventures LP, an independent venture capital firm based in Pittsburgh; and Paladin UK. Representatives of the company said the initial funding was in the four million dollar range.
"It's increasingly clear that Web publishing is moving away from the single-title model towards content networks," said deBoer. "Automatic Media is backed by a powerful and unique combination of players with complimentary strengths: Lycos' huge worldwide reach, Advance's wealth of resources and experience in offline and online media, and the creative vision of some of the true innovators of Web content."
"Automatic Media is bringing together the pioneering content brands known for smart, hip, and irreverent commentary on pop culture," said Jeff Jarvis, president of Advance.net, which oversees the Internet vision and strategy for Advance Publications, Inc, and includes CondéNet and Advance Internet. "We invested in this network because it has the talent -- both Web and traditional media -- to create a successful new Web brand that will appeal to a young adult audience."
"We are investors in Automatic Media because of the principals of Feed and Suck," said Lycos Ventures' Dennis Ciccone, "They have already established themselves as leading sources for the best in alternative content." Paladin chairman Gerry Ford agreed, "It is a very interesting business model, with economies of scale benefits, and a strong range of focused and compelling sites."
"This is an outstanding opportunity for Lycos to invest two types of capital in a startup -- cash through Lycos Ventures as well as an extremely valuable branded Net property," said Ron Sege, executive vice president of Lycos and a board member of Automatic Media. "With stake in Automatic Media, Lycos gains deeper access to a key demographic in a very targeted manner. It's a great complement to the other Lycos Network brands and serves our overall strategy to provide very deep, rich content."
Tripod founder Bo Peabody, investor and board member of Automatic Media said, "Lycos pioneered the Network model on the Web, and has shown that it can generate tremendous traffic growth. Automatic will build on that model with some of the most revered net-native brands out there."
Joseph Anuff, who joins FEED founders Steven Johnson and Stefanie Syman to lead Automatic's creative team, will oversee development of the network umbrella site. "Up to now, no large-scale site has spoken to the generation that made the Web a mass phenomenon in the first place," Anuff said. "If you're tired of Reuters headlines and stock tickers, but not ready to go back to television, you're our audience."
According to Johnson, the new company will allow its properties to grow in new directions without compromising their principles. "We've always felt that FEED should be more than just a magazine-format site on the Web," he said. "The tools we're developing at Automatic will finally let us realize that vision."
"In the past year, we've seen developments in online software that we think will be as revolutionary as hypertext was back in 1995," Syman said. "Automatic will be the first company to introduce those new services to a wider audience."
About Advance.net: Advance.net, which oversees the Internet vision and strategy for Advance Publications, Inc., includes CondéNet and Advance Internet. Advance.net's companies build premier independent brands on the Internet, with long-term real value that extend Advance Publications, Inc.'s consumer franchises into the online medium. Over the past five years, CondéNet, working with the magazines of Condé Nast, has created five national brands, including Epicurious, Swoon and Vogue.com. During this same period, Advance Internet, working with Advance Publications, newspapers, has developed ten local brands, including New Jersey Online, Alabama Live and Oregon Live. Advance.net is owned by Advance Publications, Inc., a privately held media company.
About Lycos, Inc.: Founded in 1995, Lycos, Inc. is a leading Web media company and owner of the Lycos Network, one of the most visited hubs on the Internet reaching nearly one out of every two U.S. Web users. The Lycos Network is a unified set of Web sites, attracting a diverse audience by offering a variety of services, including leading Web search and navigation resources; Web community and communications services including free homepage building, free Web-based email, clubs, chat, instant messaging; a personalized My Lycos start page; a comprehensive shopping center featuring more than 2,400 merchants; an assortment of compelling content such as games, music, news, fun and educational information, activities for kids as well as information about investing, technology, entertainment, sports, small business, travel; and more. The Lycos Network is composed of Lycos.com, Tripod, WhoWhere, Angelfire, MailCity, HotBot, HotWired, Wired News, Webmonkey, Sonique, Quote, Gamesville, and Lycos Zone. Headquartered near Boston in Waltham, Mass., Lycos, Inc. is a global Internet leader with a major presence throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, and Latin America.
On May 16, Lycos, Inc. entered into a definitive agreement with Terra Networks, S.A. (MC: TRR; Nasdaq: TRRA), a global Internet company and the leading provider of Internet access and interactive content and services to the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world, under which Terra will acquire Lycos in a stock-for-stock transaction. Upon completion of the transaction, Lycos shareholders will own approximately 37% to 46% of the new company, Terra Lycos.
The formation of Terra Lycos is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.
About Lycos Ventures: Lycos Ventures (www.lycosventures.com) was formed in July 1999 to make early-stage investments in companies that are involved with electronic commerce, online media, or the development or utilization of Internet technology, content or services. Joining Lycos, Inc, in the $75 million fund are Bear Stearns, Mellon Ventures, Inc., Sumitomo Corporation, Vulcan Ventures, and others. The fund, through its close relationship with Lycos, Inc., is uniquely positioned to target and invest in the most promising emerging companies. The unique ability of Lycos, with nearly 50% of Internet users visiting the Lycos Network each month, to provide industry expertise to, and distribution outlets for, emerging Internet companies could result in accelerated growth opportunities for the fund's portfolio. Lycos Ventures is based in Pittsburgh, Penn.
About Paladin: Paladin is a venture capital group based in London, which manages a series of funds focused on the media and internet sectors. It has offices in Singapore, Britain and California, and has been active in the internet sector since 1994.
About Suck: Founded in August of 1995 by Joseph Anuff, Suck (www.suck.com) is the Web's longest running daily column offering unpopular opinions on popular culture. Newsweek magazine has described Suck as "an irreverent, hilariously cynical take on the Web," and The Wall Street Journal wrote, "It's not accident that Suck, in a few short months, became the most imitated page on the Web." "Always smart and sardonic" wrote Rolling Stone magazine, "Suck is like Spy magazine (the old Spy magazine) for the computer age."
About Alt.Culture: Alt.Culture (www.altculture.com) is an online encyclopedia of youth culture. Called a "nirvana for culture junkies" by USA Today, Alt.Culture spans grunge and gangsta, indie rock and indie film, cyberpunk and street fashion, extreme sports and political correctness, informercials and zines. It documents and participates in the nexus of popular culture and digital media and includes Internet addresses for the majority of the 900-plus entries.
About FEED: Founded in May of 1995 by Steven Johnson and Stefanie Syman, FEED (www.feedmag.com) is one of the Web's leading magazines of culture and technology. It was heralded by The Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg as the foremost example of "combining the quality and principles of traditional print journalism with the new forms available online." Backed by a stellar list of angel investors, including Esther Dyson and Imagine Media founder Chris Anderson, FEED has been nominated for three Webby awards.