NEW YORK, – Cablevision’s Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc. [NYSE:CVC] and PRIMEDIA’s NEW YORK magazine [NYSE:PRM] announced today the creation of a new media partnership combining the brands and content of NEW YORK magazine and Rainbow’s MetroChannels. Together, the companies will create the leading New York-focused Internet destination providing a one-stop, interactive resource for the region.
In addition to the creation of a new Internet venture for the metropolitan area, the agreement also includes content exchange and development across the print, television and Web businesses. For PRIMEDIA, the partnership extends NEW YORK magazine’s reach into MetroChannels’ 3.8 million subscriber homes in the New York market. For Rainbow, the agreement projects MetroChannels’ brand profile into the print arena, and represents a compelling new source of content from the leading print brand in the metropolitan area. The resulting alliance represents the first fully-integrated print, television and Internet source for entertainment, information and editorial perspective in the New York area.
The venture will be owned equally by PRIMEDIA and Rainbow, and represents the latest step in both companies’ strategies to transform their traditional media businesses into new media brands. The Internet service is scheduled to debut in the Fall.
“This partnership is an extension of Cablevision and Rainbow’s strategy to utilize our state-of-the-art platform to create and deliver content that is meaningful to our customers, whether they are using a computer or watching television,” said James L. Dolan, Cablevision’s president and CEO. “NEW YORK magazine is among the most powerful names in New York media. Together, we are uniquely suited to bring our customers the richest experience of the metropolitan area, over the world’s finest Internet and television platform.”
“Cablevision has become the premiere New York media company. This venture brings Cablevision and Rainbow as the ‘kings of New York media’ together with PRIMEDIA, the ‘king of niche media.’ There are no two companies better suited for this type of venture,” said Tom Rogers, chairman and CEO of PRIMEDIA. “The joining of Cablevision and PRIMEDIA, and the convergence of technology to create the quintessential New York-centric service and a unique broadband offering, brings together for consumers under one roof the ultimate collection of New York information resources. I have had the pleasure of working with Jim and Josh in many successful partnerships in the past, and I have no doubt this venture will continue in that tradition of success.”
The Internet service will incorporate the content from each week’s NEW YORK – including “Intelligencer,” the “Cue” section, “Critics,” “Best Bets,” “Smart City,” “Sales and Bargains,” and “Gotham Style” – woven together with and enhanced by MetroChannels television for interactive use on the Web. The initiative will transport users directly into the Big Apple’s eateries, nightclubs, theaters, boutiques, museums, spas and gourmet markets. For example, users could take a virtual tour of the restaurant of their choice, “meet” the chef, watch that night’s specials being prepared, choose their table, and make their reservations. Surpassing existing Web ventures, this uniquely dynamic experience will give users a ringside seat to the incredible circus that is the New York metropolitan area.
“This converged, media-rich model yields a truly interactive, dynamic high-speed experience. Without leaving their homes, users experience the latest art exhibit, tour a new restaurant, or preview the season’s newest fashions, ” said Josh Sapan, Rainbow’s president & CEO. “In combination, NEW YORK magazine and MetroChannels will be the premiere source for New York on every platform – print, television, and the emerging world of high-speed broadband.”
“NEW YORK magazine’s readers are the city’s most sophisticated consumers of culture, and the nation’s leaders when it come to lifestyle trends,” said Caroline Miller, editor-in-chief of NEW YORK magazine. “With this new venture, NEW YORK and Metro will create a Web site that will not only offer users exactly what they want to know about the city – in the form that’s most useful to them – but also will, in turn, capitalize on the enormous resource of users’ expertise and opinions by making them available to other users.”
Unprecedented Synergy from Unique Multimedia Partnership
The joint venture will collaborate on Web and TV extensions of a number of NEW YORK‘s special issues, including “Where to Eat Now,” “Best of New York,” “52 Weekends,” Spring and Fall Fashion, Interior Design, Summer Fun and the Hamptons Preview. These events will be produced, promoted and delivered across print, television, Internet and interactive broadband platforms. The Internet product will include additional exclusive print content, and Internet-only television content from MetroChannels.
The partners will also collaborate on many cultural, entertainment and lifestyle projects in which the city’s most complete and authoritative events listings will be complemented by backstage, behind-the-scenes and in-the-kitchen video footage of the city’s chefs, designers, theatrical and musical talents and creative entrepreneurs. The partnership will be a platform for e-commerce opportunities from ticket buying and reservations to personal shopping services.
The Internet venture will use “push” and “pull” technologies to create the ultimate interactive experience. Users will have the ability to customize their content: to receive emails based on the “Cue” listings, or film, television, theater and restaurant reviews, or to see an individualized version of the product, screened according to their preference. The converged product will encourage the creation of online communities around arts, entertainment, leisure and lifestyle through user-generated databases of opinions, bulletin boards, chats and e-circles. Databases of user opinions will be developed on everything from restaurants and retail establishments to Broadway shows and movies. Results will be available on the Web site and in other print and television formats.
The agreement with PRIMEDIA reflects Rainbow’s strategy to create alliances that extend its brands in a focused manner, consistent with its networks’ editorial voices. In December 1999, Rainbow entered into a 10-year strategic equity agreement with Salon.com. The agreement includes content exchange and development, as well as extensions of each company’s brands onto new platforms and to new audiences. Later in 2000, Salon.com will premiere original television programming, based on its Internet content for Bravo, Rainbow’s film and arts network.
PRIMEDIA is a multimedia company taking advantage of its strong brands such as NEW YORK, to continue to propel it into the new media arena. The Company is actively developing alliances, partnerships and joint ventures to further enhance its existing products and services with interactive, innovative options for customers. This alliance comes on the heels of a number of deals that PRIMEDIA has entered into as part of an overall effort to transform the Company into a new media powerhouse. Along these lines, PRIMEDIA recently created a new entity – PRIMEDIA Broadband Video – to exploit its thousands of hours of video resources for the broadband world.
Since it was founded in April 1968, NEW YORK magazine has been New York City’s magazine of record, with extensive and regular coverage of local and national news, entertainment, culture, fashion, and personalities. NEW YORK magazine is part of PRIMEDIA Consumer Magazines.
PRIMEDIA Inc., with 1999 sales of $1.7 billion, is a targeted media company with several hundred print, video and Internet properties focused on consumer and business-to-business audiences. Some key businesses include Seventeen, NEW YORK, Chicago, Fly Fisherman, Channel One Network and 16 other specialty satellite television and TV distribution services, Horticulture, Modern Bride, American Baby, IntelliChoice, Telephony, American Demographics and Films for the Humanities & Sciences. The Company owns and operates more than 215 Web sites and other Internet properties.
MetroChannels is the first and only suite of television networks devoted entirely to the experience of living in the New York metropolitan area. MetroChannels consist of METRO, Metro Learning, and Metro Traffic&Weather. Metro includes original programming, live music and sports, classic New York TV series and documentaries about the people, places and history of New York. MetroLearning provides unfiltered coverage of events unfolding in the many diverse communities throughout the region. Metro Traffic&Weather is the Tri-state’s first and only 24-hour local traffic, transit, and weather channel. Since its 1998 launch, MetroChannels has received numerous accolades for its programming, including the 1999 & 2000 Community Spirit Award, New York Festivals Awards, Omni Awards and the Communicator Awards. In addition, MetroChannels was among the top 10 networks nominated for the 1999 local New York Emmy Awards.
Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation and NBC, is at the forefront of innovation in cable programming. Rainbow manages American Movie Classics, Romance Classics, Bravo, The Independent Film Channel, MuchMusic USA, Rainbow Sports, News 12 Networks and MetroChannels as well as the Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation and Rainbow Network Communications. Rainbow holds a majority stake in Madison Square Garden Properties which includes the Madison Square Garden Arena complex, the Knicks and the Rangers professional sports teams, the MSG television network, Radio City Entertainment and a long-term lease on Radio City Music Hall. In addition, Rainbow is a fifty-percent partner in Fox Sports Net.
Cablevision Systems Corporation is one of the nation’s leading media, telecommunications and entertainment companies. The Company’s cable television operations serve more than 3.4 million customers located primarily in the New York metropolitan area. The Company also owns and operates both THE WIZ consumer electronics stores in 41 locations and Clearview Cinemas with 293 motion picture theater screens throughout the New York metropolitan area.
This release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning PRIMEDIA’s operations, economic performance and financial condition. These statements are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates, which are inherently subject to uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of the Company, and reflect future business decisions, which are subject to change. Some of these assumptions may not materialize, and unanticipated events will occur which can affect the Company’s results.
Investors – Warren Bimblick
Media – Joanne Lasky