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Media Central Pulls Back on Paid Content: Media Central, the media-related business magazine unit that is part of Primedia group, is unraveling its online paid content strategy, at least partially. That, in effect, may mean the final death of Inside.com, the now-shell site that was sold back to Primedia in October 2001.
It may also mean the dismantling (or at least re-organizing) of Media Central, an ambitious strategy tried out by Primedia to bring all its media business properties under one umbrella, for which it hired media maven Steve Brill in January 2001.
Media Central recently appointed John McManus as its new editorial director. Since January, McManus has been serving in the dual role of Media Central’s Chief Content Officer and as COO and Editorial Director of Media Central’s Simba Information unit.
And if you thought the whole Media Central/Brill Media Ventures/Inside.com nexus was complex, the refiguring of Media Central publications seem to have made it more complex, judging from the redesigned sites.
Two of Media Central’s publications, cable industry magazine CableWorld and American Demographics, the consumer research and trends magazine, have broken out of Inside.com umbrella and have gone back to their originals URLs with new re-design. The stories for the two magazines, which were earlier available to paid subscribers, are now available for free again. Inside.com, after it was bought out by Brill Media Ventures/Primedia in April last year, had developed its own proprietary MediaPass micropayment solution for its stories and was using it for other constituent magazines’ stories as well.
American Demographics, at least as the website indicates, is now part of Primedia Business Magazines & Media (PBMM), the trade magazine division of the parent company, and has taken the template design of all the constituent magazines’ websites. Media Central technically is a part of PBMM.
CableWorld, meanwhile, now seems to be aligned with Kagan.com, the research and news site about media and telecom business, though it does has a separate website. Kagan.com has also been re-launched as a separate site, though most of the information is still available on a subscription basis.
Two other newsletter “Book Publishing Report” and “Media Buyers Daily” still remain under the Inside.com umbrella, as does meta-magazine Folio. Folio recently hired Cable Neuhaus as the new editor-in-chief to fill the position left vacant by Lorne Manly, who left to join the New York Times. It perhaps is a matter of time before Folio is re-launched as a separate site as well.
The whole Brill Media Ventures/Inside.com saga is perhaps too familiar, but a summation of the whole story can be found here.
Disclaimer: I was the digital media reporter for Inside.com, before it closed down in October 2001.