Maven, the owner of Sports Illustrated and TheStreet, says it earned more than $45 million of revenues in Q4, in an SEC filing made Tuesday.
Maven said Sports Illustrated had 29 million unique visitors in December 2019, up from 27 million compared to the previous year — a 7.4% increase. SI.com also saw a 300% page-load speed improvement after moving to Maven’s platform in October, according to the company.
Last year, Sports Illustrated was acquired by Authentic Brands Group from Meredith for $110 million. In June, ABG licensed the media operations to Maven, an ad platform-media company.
The company let go of about 40 staffers and hired 200 contractors to increase Sports Illustrated's local sports coverage. Maven says that new team brought 5.6 million unique users to the brand in December.
“Financial and digital metrics improved quickly and materially for Sports Illustrated, in particular, after Maven replaced SI’s senior management team and implemented dramatic changes in editorial strategy for both print and digital, tech platform, sales approach, print format, video strategy, headcount and expense discipline,” the company stated.
Maven eliminated SI’s “print-news” department and its long-form video strategy, “which had been suffering significant financial losses.”
“We are pleased by the positive results,” Maven founder James Heckman stated. “Similar to our 2018 restructuring initiatives, we quickly forced many difficult, and sometimes traumatic changes, which we deemed necessary to transition SI’s business back to a trusted and growing heritage brand."
The company anticipates that in 2020, it will have more than $27 million in operational savings at Sports Illustrated, compared to 2018, with “significant changes” made to the brand's print product.
The changes will affect “print frequency and circulation,” while "improving the size, weight and quality of the magazine, whose first issue under its new format will launch in February."
Sports Illustrated employees announced their intention to unionize earlier this week.
The NewsGuild of New York union represents about 80 staffers in print, digital and video, CNN reports.
“Maven's directive to launch a network of team reporters on SI's platforms without sufficient vetting or editorial oversight has already resulted in errors that severely undermine our credibility,” the union stated.
Garden & Gun, which covers the South, has a special edition for kids this month.
The Garden & Gun issue out this Tuesday will be the magazine's largest February/March issue — it's 10% bigger than last year's. It will also include a magazine for kids.
Called G&G Jr., the “coastal edition” magazine is sponsored by Destin-Fort Walton Beach, previously known as Emerald Coast, in the Florida Panhandle.
The issue will also be available at Garden & Gun’s retail arm Fieldshop and the Emerald Coast Convention Center.
Content inside the kid's issue includes a Q&A interview with Caroline Marks, a Florida native and member of the first official U.S. Olympic surf team. She is the youngest surfer to ever qualify for the women’s championship tour.
It also offers guides and information around a beach vacation, such as a how-to on tying a nautical knot and catching a ghost crab, as well as stats on the impact of plastic and trash on the ocean.
The issue features profiles of six kids and their ideas for protecting the environment. It provides a list of the 12 best beaches for kids, as well as suggestions on games, puzzles and sunscreen for beach days.
The G&G Jr. “Coastal Edition” magazine also has games and funny stories geared to a younger audience.
For adults, the February/March issue features a guide to the food and drink, home and garden, outdoors, style and arts and culture in Charleston, South Carolina, as the city turns 350 this year.
Garden & Gun is also based in Charleston.
“Whether you’re a foodie, a sportsman, a shopper, or an arts aficionado, our guide to the city in honor of its 350th will help you experience Charleston like a local,” editor in chief David DiBenedetto wrote in a newsletter to subscribers.
He continued: “Or if you want to brush up on your wingshooting and fly casting, we have you covered with a look at the South’s best sporting schools. There’s also a master class in all things grits, an out-of-this-world camellia garden, a tasty interview with the chef and opera singer Alexander Smalls, Julia Reed’s ode to quirky but classic Southern movies, and lots more.”
The issue features a custom content piece on local hotels, produced for Explore Charleston, the city's tourism bureau.
Last week, Forbesappointed Nina Gould to Chief Product Officer and Vadim Supitskiy to Chief Technology Officer.
The two positions have existed at Forbes in the past, but have not been filled for a few years.
“The roles are dually important and will ensure we create the best experiences for our audiences, marketing partners, journalists and contributors," Forbes CEO Mike Federle told Publishers Daily.
Gould has been at Forbes for 20 years, and Supitskiy for 12. They were key to the brand's digital transformation.
“Together, Gould and Supitskiy will continue to incorporate next-gen technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence across all platforms, while also introducing best-in-class engineering practices throughout the company,” the company stated.
Gould and Supitskiy were involved in the full-site redesign of Forbes, created a new content management system and managed the company’s migration to the cloud.
“Digital is the engine that powers us, and Nina and Vadim have long played pivotal roles in transforming Forbes into a brand that transcends platforms,” stated Federle.
Federle announced Thursday that Chief Digital Officer Salah Zalatimo is leaving the company to become CEO of a unit of block-chain focused open-source software publisher Block.one.
Forbes also announced that it set traffic records in the fourth quarter of 2019. It brought in 74.6 and 76.4 million visitors in October and November, respectively.