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Last Shoe Drops: The Hollywood Reporter’s Jimmy Finkelstein Finally Removed — Is Sale Next?

Guggenheim Partners today announced the hiring of a badly needed digital media CEO, presumably to put some fiscal diet discipline over its assets including The Hollywood Reporter‘s bloat. In the process it has removed the last remaining Prometheus Media equity owner managing THR after its 2010 purchase. Gone with the wind is Jimmy Finkelstein, who tried unsuccessfully to turn the publication into a profitable venture. Guggenheim announced that it has acquired the remaining stake in Prometheus Media from Pluribus Capital, which was founded by Finkelstein, who previously served as  Chairman of Prometheus Media. So here’s what happened: it’s been well known that the disliked Finkelstein clashed often with Guggenheim, which for the past year installed its own bean-counters to monitor the celebrity sheet. And inexplicably in July Guggenheim placed Dottie Mattison in charge, even though she is known for loving the Red Carpet limelight more than overseeing the journalism of the job. Finkelstein had a reputation around the Reporter as a nasty piece of work, so there will be lots of dry eyes to see him go. He never understood that, to make the publication profitable, costs had to be slashed and not constantly soared, to Guggenheim’s horror. The fault lies with Guggenheim’s Todd Boehly, whose lousy idea it was to buy into Hollywood — and now can’t wait to get out so he can continue investing in sports. (His newly acquired Dick Clark Prods just effed-up Sunday’s Golden Globes production-wise.)

One of the problems was that Finkelstein, who owned legal trades years ago, overestimated his own ability to turn a profit in today’s crowded consumer media marketplace. Although it’s true that The Hollywood Reporter has enlarged its one-off traffic, it still is not widely consumed by the entertainment community. Instead Hollywood and the businesses that rely on it are addicted to lean and mean Deadline Hollywood, which focuses exclusively on showbiz instead of celebrity. THR‘s plan under original Prometheus Media CEO Richard Beckman was to publish a subscription-based magazine. That quickly fizzled, and the Reporter print edition is distributed free for the most part (and to zip codes like Florida). Beckman, who was hired in 2010, was demoted in 2011 and then kicked to the curb in June. Finkelstein would have met the same fate earlier except he was an equity owner in Prometheus Media and convinced naive Guggenheim to let him try to affect a turnaround. Now his removal paves the way for Guggenheim to finally sell the Hollywood trade, something the investor has wanted to do almost from the beginning of its asset acquisition which was always plotted as a fixer-upper to be flipped.

Meanwhile, Penkse Media Corp (owner of Deadline Hollywood) is still waging its lawsuit against The Hollywood Reporter for copyright infringement.

Here’s Guggenheim’s release today: Read More »

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Billboard Exodus As More Turmoil Troubles Prometheus Global Media

By | Friday March 9, 2012 @ 12:28pm PST

Prometheus Global Media is the beleaguered media company that owns The Hollywood Reporter and Adweek jettisoned Backstage and the Hollywood Creative Directory. I was tipped this morning that there’s a Billboard exodus underway: popular publisher Lisa Ryan Howard was pushed out and high-profile Billboard editor-in-chief Danyel Smith and Billboard deputy editor Lou Hau have resigned. More staff are expected to follow. “Morale is in the toilet because the level of dysfunction there and inside Prometheus is off the scale,” an insider tells me. ”Lisa was the bright spot in people’s day. She buffered the staff from the dsyfunction.” But now she’s gone. I also hear that Prometheus is stopping annual reviews of employees so it can eliminate 2% raises. Billboard also just cancelled its Billboard Pro project aimed at artists, I’m told. ’The investment in it was insufficient to start with,” my source says. “Prometheus keeps trying at Billboard to cut its way to prosperity so it can pay its own way.” Prometheus, initially entitled e5 Global Media, made an 8-title acquisition from The Nielsen Company in 2009 and was formed jointly by private equity partner Pluribus Capital Management co-founder Jimmy Finkelstein and financial services firm Guggenheim Partners’ Todd Boehly who is managing partner in the Office Of The CEO. The pair are now running Prometheus after the CEO they hired amid considerable hype, Richard Beckman, was sidelined to events planning. As a result, Finkelstein, who is chairman of Prometheus, now oversees daily management. Neither Boehly nor Finkelstein have any entertainment media experience. Aother Prometheus publication, Adweek, suffered … Read More »

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UPDATE: Prometheus Selling ‘Back Stage’; The Hollywood Reporter’s Parent Company “Dropping Assets Like Flies Now”

The Hollywood Reporter’s Parent Company Continues To Cost Cut: Prometheus Pulled Plug On Hollywood Creative Directory

UPDATE: Prometheus Global Media is now confirming what I reported last night; that it’s unloading yet another showbiz asset. Instead of calling this a sale, it’s calling this a financial “alliance” with a group of investors led by John Amato who used to be president of a NYC taxi advertising company called Show Media. Amato now becomes CEO of Back Stage. When Prometheus couldn’t sell the media outlet outright, Prometheus joint owner Guggenheim Partners put up most of the money for the investor group to buy it. ”They are going to position it as not a sale, but as a strategic partnership. But this is not true: Guggenheim is doing debt financing and holding a carried minority interest, but this new group is assuming control (including control of board),” one of my insiders tells me. Though no financial details were announced, insiders tell me the investor group is putting up $5 million and Guggenheim is financing $10M to $15M more. “Again, they are trying to pretend it’s not a sale for PR reasons, but in any other company it would be regarded as a sale,” the source said. Explained another insider, “They’re dropping assets like flies now.”

EXCLUSIVE SUNDAY 11 PM: The Hollywood Reporter’s parent company is … Read More »

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The Hollywood Reporter’s Parent Company Continues To Cost Cut: Prometheus Pulled Plug On Hollywood Creative Directory; Adweek Also In Trouble And In Turmoil

By | Thursday September 29, 2011 @ 4:28pm PDT

Deadline recently wrote that The Hollywood Reporter was laying off and/or firing staff because of financial problems. Internal sources at embattled parent company Prometheus Global Media revealed to Deadline this week that the Hollywood Creative Directory employees, comprised of its publishing director of 17 years Valencia McKinley and her staff of three, were laid off and informed that the outlet had been sold. There’s no question that Prometheus is looking to cut costs, especially with The Hollywood Reporter hemorrhaging red ink because of soaring overhead. Two execs from the previous and new administrations say the Hollywood Creative Directory has its own P&L therefore it’s a separate entity inside Prometheus — even though the HCD website reads “The Hollywood Creative Directory is part of the information services unit of The Hollywood Reporter.” That’s apparently only for co-branding purposes. Interestingly, one insider doesn’t even think the HCD was sold. Another believes that was just a cover story so Prometheus’ money problems wouldn’t be made public. There’s also news that another Prometheus publication, Adweek, is suffering declining ad revenue under its redesign with editor Michael Wolff hired last October. But now the high-profile Wolff is considered a goner. So that’s another Prometheus publication in trouble. Read More »

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BREAKING! Deadline’s Parent Company Sues The Hollywood Reporter’s Parent Company For Copyright Infringement

2ND UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter has just removed from its website PMC’s unique and original featured module comprised of source code that produced PMC-owned’s distinctive homepage. This egregious theft and other issues form the basis for the copyright infringement lawsuit which Deadline’s parent company PMC filed today against The Hollywood Reporter’s parent company Prometheus Global Media.

PMC had spent numerous months and substantial resources in researching and developing the most optimized, intuitive, and user-friendly way to come up with a creative, unique, and interactive featured module for its The featured module was created using unique and original source code. On or around August 2011, THR copied and stole PMC’s source code for this featured module, and as a result THR’s homepage featured module is nearly identical to that of TVLine. Even the names and labels of THR’s source code is identical to TVLine’s. PMC was formerly known as Media Corporation, commonly referred to under the acronym MMC. For that reason, the initials ‘MMC’ appear in each of the labels. THR’s source code and module still contained the initials ‘MMC’ in its labels. THR’s source code also flagrantly contained PMC’s same inadvertent misspelling of the word ‘Carousel’.

UPDATE 1 PM: Yes, Hollywood is indeed buzzing about today’s lawsuit. And so are mediacentric websites.

PREVIOUS 11 AM: For the record, Penske Media Corporation, the parent company and owner of various leading digital media properties including, this morning sued Prometheus Global Media LLC, which owns and operates The Hollywood Reporter, for copyright infringement. Here is the link to PMC’s complaint and its exhibits. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and requesting a jury trial, is very juicy and makes for great reading. Here is the summary: Read More »

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