BECKMAN’S BACK: The last time Richard Beckman partnered up with private equity guys, it didn’t work out so well. But Beckman is going back for more, and he’s getting out of the publishing world altogether.
Along with a handful of high-profile partners that include Ron Burkle, Beckman has gone Hollywood, founding a company dubbed Three Lions that will produce televised event shows, like a revived “Fashion Rocks.”
This story first appeared in the March 26, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Beckman, the former president of the Condé Nast Media Group and chief executive officer of WWD parent Fairchild, has been searching for a comeback since last summer, when he exited Prometheus Global Media.
In 2009, Prometheus’ hedge fund investors Jimmy Finkelstein and Guggenheim Partners brought Beckman in to turn around publications like AdWeek and The Hollywood Reporter. But his Condé-like spending ways and attempts to turn the titles into hybrid consumer/B2B magazines failed to gain traction, and he was sidelined as ceo in summer 2011 before eventually leaving last June.
He had gotten a taste of showbiz while at Condé, helping to launch late-2000 supplements and TV specials like “Fashion Rocks,” and later, at Prometheus, when he revived the Billboard Music Awards on the ABC network.
“It’s something I’ve been doing for a while,” Beckman said about event productions. He said he made his way through college as a concert promoter. His phone hold music is still “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas.
Three Lions will develop, produce and distribute shows and events that will initially include “branded awards shows” to be aired on television, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Simon Worldwide. Burkle, the billionaire founder of money management firm Yucaipa Companies, holds a significant stake in Simon, a California-based publicly traded marketing company. Simon made an initial capital investment in Three Lions of $3.15 million, according to the filing with $5 million more expected later this year. In a statement, Burkle said he was attracted to the company because it combines entertainment and marketing.
Beckman is the company’s new ceo, with a guaranteed salary of $800,000 a year for five years, plus bonuses.
Beckman said he is proposing a different business model from traditional television producers in that he’ll be combining production, distribution and marketing services.
“The traditional producer sells their content to distributors for a licensing fee. Not only do we produce the shows and get distribution fees, we scale the content into other channels, and then we take that content and bundle it on behalf of advertisers,” he said.
Three Lions, which will have offices in New York, is starting with the licenses to revive, with Academy Awards producer Don Mischer, “Fashion Rocks” and “Movie Rocks” next year.