The industry is making headlines as LGBT media companies prepare to gather in Orlando for an annual convention.
Journalists from all over the country will arrive this week in Orlando for the eighth annual LGBT Journalists Media Convening hosted by the Haas Foundation, NLGJA, and the Arcus Foundation. This year’s location is a response to the weight of the tragedy that unfolded at Pulse nightclub almost one year ago. Meanwhile, local New York magazine Metrosource announced today that it was acquired by Davler Media Group. Overseas, GT magazine — formerly Gay Times — has a new owner in entrepreneur James Frost. And the Washington Blade this week is set to launch a sister publication on the other U.S. coast called the Los Angeles Blade.
Keith Kelly’s Media Ink column in the New York Post reported on some of the changes as “Media Companies Looking to Scoop Up LGBT Magazines” — while also repeating a rumor it first spread last week about Here Media, the largest player in the LGBT market.
Here Media has three divisions — Here TV, Here Publishing, and Spellbound, which owns a large film library. The publishing division includes The Advocate, Out magazine, PRIDE, Out Traveler, and Plus magazine. Kelly incorrectly reported them as operated by Regent Entertainment Media — one among a number of errors in his column, “Out, The Advocate Rumored to Be Up for Sale.”
“The rumor spread by the New York Post is just that — a rumor,” said Lucas Grindley, managing director for Here Publishing. “The article is filled with inaccuracies that should’ve been easily checked.”
Grindley is also editor in chief of The Advocate, print production of which is run by Retrograde Communications and Diane Anderson-Minshall as editorial director (not by Grand Editorial, as incorrectly reported by Kelly). Here Publishing reports today that both the print and digital operations are profitable. In fact, Here Publishing in 2016 saw revenue of $14.8 million against expenses of $11.1 million, for a robust profit margin of 24.6 percent on operating income of approximately $3.6 million.
Here Publishing is number 1 in the “Gay & Lesbian” category on ComScore, which measures audiences across platforms. It’s been number 1 in that category for numerous consecutive months, while simultaneously increasing viewability of ads and more than tripling page views since 2013.
Most recently, the Here TV division launched its new OTT service, which gives subscribers access to a library of hundreds of films and series. A rotating menu of films are available to watch for free each week with ads. The app is available for download in stores for iTunes, Android, Roku, and Apple TV. Here TV subscriptions are also available on all major cable providers including Spectrum and Xfinity, or online via Amazon Prime.
While the company rapidly expands access to its library via OTT, virtually all pre-roll ad inventory across Here TV and Here Publishing’s network is sold. The same is true for display banner inventory.
“We’ve never had more interest in investing in the company than when that puzzling article came out,” said CEO Paul Colichman. “I guess I should be grateful people are finally noticing our success.”
The Advocate celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and Out magazine celebrates its 25th. Metrosource was praised for its longevity by its new owners. “The acquisition of this pioneering, 27-year strong publication perfectly complements our newest objective: to become the leading multi-platform media brand serving the LGBTQ community, and the advertisers that serve them, here in New York and beyond,” said David Miller, CEO of Davler Media Group, in a statement announcing the change.
Davler is also the owner of City Guide and seven regional parenting titles including Big Apple Parent, Brooklyn Parent, and NYMetroParents.com. It also owns New York Spaces and several event listing titles.
The new edition of the Blade in Los Angeles follows the closing of well-known L.A. LGBT magazine Frontiers. The magazine, which was owned by Multimedia Platforms, folded late last year along with Next magazine in New York and Agenda Florida.
“We’ve assembled a top-notch, experienced team that knows and loves L.A.,” said Blade editor Kevin Naff in a story announcing the newspaper that will attempt to take advantage of the opening in the LGBT market.
Advertisers are gearing up for the busy Pride season, starting in June. And the latest numbers on LGBT buying power were noted by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in its report “America’s LGBT Economy.”
"While our community's $917 billion spending power highlights our market clout,” said Bob Witeck, president of Witeck Communications and an analyst on the report, “the jobs, tax revenues, and profits we create as employers and entrepreneurs define our full economic value to America. We are just beginning to scratch the surface of our potential."