Thursday, July 27, 2017

Is Essence Magazine Available For A Return To Black Ownership?

You may have heard already that Time Inc, who bought a major stake in Essence Magazine 12 years ago, now wants to get rid of it. But it's not because the magazine is failing! In fact, the magazine, it's web site, and their annual festival in New Orleans are thriving.

In fact, the Essence Music Festival alone, which on average attracts about 500,000 attendees, generates millions in sponsorship and ticket sales revenue every year.

So why are they selling it off?

The truth is that Time Inc. owns quite a few magazines including Coastal Living, Sunset and Golf. The company wants to sell off all of these publications (including Essence), as part of its attempt to go from being a print publisher to a digital-media producer.

The company's revenue and operating profit have both fallen sharply over the past 10 years, and they have decided to focus more on their stronger brands which include People, InStyle, Real Simple and TIME.

Regarding the Essence sell-off, Rich Battista, the company's CEO, told the Wall Street Journal, “We think the best way to do that is to bring in a strategic partner with investment capital.”

Will a Black-owned business step up and buy Essence?

Derek T. Dingle, Chief Content Officer at Black Enterprise says this could be a unique opportunity for African American entrepreneurs to invest in the premiere magazine.

He comments, "It would be fitting if an African American-led group of investors could purchase that majority stake and apply new business and digital strategies to enhance the brand for a new generation."

And Derek is right! Maybe the likes of Magic Johnson, Bob Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan or a group of NBA or NFL players can all get together to buy the magazine. But only time will tell!

Originally launched in the year 1970, Essence has been a very successful lifestyle brand for African American women for almost 50 years. Many people are hoping that the brand will be picked up by a company that will keep it alive, and also return it back to it's former Black-owned status.

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

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