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Consumers Union’s New Consumer Media Unit Could Expand Beyond Consumerist; No Paid Ads Allowed

Consumers Union’s new non-profit subsidiary Consumer Media LLC launches on Jan. 1 with newly acquired as its only property but the announcement release stressed that it’s the first. Does this mean more acquisitions are on the way? “The short answer is we don’t know,” Ken Weine, VP-communications, told us. “We may down the road acquire or create new items.” Consumer Media is viewed as a way to expand the nonprofit’s consumer advocacy mission and to take advantage of a growth spurt in recent years.

For now, the new subsidiary sets boundaries between Consumerist, acquired this week from Gawker Media, and CU’s Consumer Reports magazine and website. “The message we

2 Responses to “Consumers Union’s New Consumer Media Unit Could Expand Beyond Consumerist; No Paid Ads Allowed”

  1. Definitely good compared to the Consumerist going away. However, I’m personally concerned about this purchase.

    I operate, which provides vehicle reliability information. Our information has two large advantages over that of Consumer Reports:

    1. Report actual repair rates, not just vague dots, to make the differences between models much clearer.

    2. Results promptly updated four times a year; so our information averages about ten months ahead of CR’s.

    But, since we’re a competitor, you’ll never see CR mention our information, and I’m personally not allowed to mention my site in their forums–even when I have information that they cannot provide. Now that they’ve bought the Consumerist, I suspect the same will be true for it.

    Quite a few times a journalist has told me that he can’t write about the unique information offers car buyers, because part of what the site offers competes with information offered by their employer.

    In other words, from where I sit media consolidation isn’t a good thing. Each media outlet has its own interests, and these come before the interests of readers. The larger these outlets get, the broader their interests get, and the more delimited their reporting gets. Even in CR’s case. CR is for CR first, consumers second.

    They’ve somehow convinced many in the media that they deserve to be the sole voice for consumer interests. They’d love to either buy or silence all competitors. There are good reasons this isn’t allowed when the aspiring monopolist is a for-profit firm, and the same reasons should apply to CR.

  2. Thanks Staci D. Kramer for sharing this wonderful piece of information. Its really a very informative article for me and I am working on the educational project of consumer unions, so, it will be very helpful for me in this scenario.