Golf Digest is set to continue as a print magazine, even in the hands of a large television network.
The nearly 70-year-old title will not be turned into a strictly digital play or even have its monthly print frequency cut. Rather, Discovery Inc., which is thought to have paid publisher Condé Nast $35 million for the title and all of its related assets, is going to keep the magazine as is, at least for the immediate future. Discovery is also taking on the many international licenses for Golf Digest, which is active in almost 70 countries, and is looking to expand the title further globally online and on TV.
In a Monday note to staff, editor in chief Jerry Tarde said, “The short-term plan is to keep doing what you’re doing: create great content, keep growing digital, engage users on all platforms.”
Tarde, who will be staying on as editor under the new Discovery ownership and take the lead on its international-only streaming TV service GolfTV, added that, “Discovery not only wants to preserve our brand, but grow it to new heights worldwide.” While he never mentioned print explicitly, the editorial product will remain in existence and in print in the U.S. The monthly schedule could change at a later date, but for now, things are staying as is. Dan Robertson, publisher of Golf Digest, is also set to stay on and officially join Discovery. The title will roll up into the Discovery Golf segment, operated by Alex Kaplan.
“We can utilize the strengths of both Golf Digest and our burgeoning GolfTV platform, establishing a global editorial powerhouse delivering content across all platforms to engage and inspire millions of passionate golf fans around the world,” Kaplan said.
Condé Nast will remain the actual producer of the magazine as part of the sale agreement, similar to deals Meredith Corp. has struck with buyers of Time and Fortune magazines, which had no magazine printing infrastructure of their own. The Golf Digest staff, too, will be sticking it out at Condé Nast headquarters in Manhattan’s One World Trade Center for a while. A full integration of the staff isn’t expected until Discovery moves into its new headquarters in New York sometime next year.
“This team that made it through the turbulence of the last few years already has proven an ability to be nimble and adapt,” Tarde added in his memo. “Working together, we’ll develop new strategies for investment and growth in the near future.”
Despite some logistical inconvenience, Discovery is looking at the acquisition as a boon to its position in the popular golf market. Web sites for Golf Digest and PGA Tour actually are the second and first most popular golfing sites. Even during the nearly 12 months it was for sale, Golf Digest held onto just under 4.8 million monthly readers, growing across web, mobile and video, with a slight decline in print readership, according to data from the MPA Association of Magazine Media. Acquiring the magazine gives Discovery the ability to combine the reach of the magazine and the PGA platform, along with GolfTV, distribute content across both and offer advertisers broad cross-channel buys and placements.
Tarde wrote in a formal statement of “Discovery’s vision to create one global destination for everything a golf fan could want.”
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