Richard Beckman sent a memo to employees this afternoon, to set the record straight following a report in the New York Post that claimed Guggenheim Partners and Pluribus Capital Management are interested in selling Prometheus Global Media, publishers of The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, among others. Beckman, chief executive officer of Prometheus sent this e-mail to the company’s staff:
I just wanted to communicate with all of you, following the article that appeared today in the New York Post, as I would not like inaccurate allegations to create concern for any of you. Contrary to the article, I can reassure you that my partners at Guggenheim and Pluribus and I are committed to making Prometheus Global Media into a world-class media company. In fact, both Guggenheim and our chairman Jimmy Finkelstein of Pluribus went on the record and stated that we are not for sale. Both Guggenheim and Pluribus wanted me to reassure you all that we are only interested in expanding our business and not contracting or selling Prometheus, and we will continue to make significant strategic investments in helping us achieve this growth. To that end, I would like to take this opportunity to underscore some of the great progress we are making.
First, since we re-launched The Hollywood Reporter last November, advertising revenue for the months of November 2010 through February 2011 has increased 52 percent over the same year prior with significant growth on all circulation metrics. Further, our Web site, which was redesigned and re-launched by Razorfish at the same time, has shown exponential growth in Web traffic, reaching its highest historical level of 3.5 million unique visitors for the month of February as sourced by ComScore, representing 868 percent year-over-year growth and placing it significantly ahead of all other entertainment industry Web sites. Most important, the new Hollywood Reporter has been praised by the entertainment community as the most exciting product to hit the industry for many years.
Billboard has gained on all fronts, with 2010 advertising revenue up 48 percent. That growth curve continues in 2011 with an increase of 78 percent for the first two months of this year compared with the same period a year prior. You are already aware we are readying for the commercial debut of Billboard Pro, an industry-changing dashboard to help undiscovered musicians with a tool to develop their careers. Further, on May 22nd, we will be launching our first televised network show in partnership with ABC — The Billboard Music Awards. These programs and other strategic initiatives to be announced will continue to develop Billboard into the most important brand in the music industry.
This April sees the reinvention and rebirth of the Adweek franchise. Last year was a strong year for the Adweek business, which achieved ad revenue growth of 24.5 percent, and on April 18th we will accelerate this progress with our re-launch of Adweek Media in print and digital to create a strong voice for this incredibly dynamic industry.
Finally, our Film Expo Group this spring launches the first ever Reality Rocks Expo, which will bring together the producers and casts of reality TV. This exciting show will debut in Los Angeles and we are excited about its short- and long-term possibilities.
In closing, I will tell you that our growing success will make us an ever-increasing target for our competitors as they seek to undermine our efforts. But despite any irresponsible commentary on our progress, I want to reassure you that we will continue to aggressively invest and grow Prometheus Global Media into an exciting and important business.
Thank you for your hard work and commitment.