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Jay Penske and Bonnie Fuller wade into crowded new media landscape

November 30, 2009 | 10:15 am

PenskeFuller Call it the arrogance of youth or foresight few others possess, but Jay Penske is betting that an old editorial model can work in new media.

The 30-year-old chief executive of Mail.com Media Corp. seemed to have come from nowhere this summer when he acquired Nikki Finke's Deadline.com Hollywood news site in a deal that will net the blogger at least several million dollars. Now he's working with Bonnie Fuller, giving the former editor of celebrity and fashion magazines such as Star, US Weekly, and Marie Claire a substantial equity stake to edit his new site, HollywoodLife.com.

At a time when media companies online and off are cutting back, Penske is using the $35 million-plus in  funding he has raised to try to build a mini digital media empire by spending on expensive talent.

"We look at the editorial people in journalism as the ones creating value, and we think original content is what people want," Penske says confidently.

It's a formula for losing money fast, but for anyone with aspirations of standing out from the innumerable sites that rehash and comment on news reported by others, it may still be the only formula that makes sense. To find out how Penske and Fuller are approaching HollywoodLife.com and how it fits into Mail.com Media's strategy, read this story from Thursday's Times (we're betting some of you missed it over the holiday).

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Bonnie Fuller and Jay Penske. Credit: Mail.com Media Corp.

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