Vibe Magazine, Vibe.com Purchased — Set To Re-Launch

2009-07-21 - VibeIn June, it closed its doors, marking the end of an era. Now, less than two months later, Vibe is set to re-launch and continue its nearly 16 year run as source for not only hip-hop, but R&B lifestyle and culture.

InterMedia Partners, in partnership with Uptown Media Group along with Blackrock Digital, announced this week the purchase of the assets of Vibe and its online property, Vibe.com.

The companies say they are excited about re-vamping and running Vibe for years to come.

“Vibe is the preeminent brand in R&B and hip-hop. We feel privileged to purchase and resurrect such a storied brand,” said David Koff, Senior Partner, InterMedia Partners. “Together with the relaunch of ‘Soul Train’ this fall and the rapid expansion of Uptown Magazine, a reinvigorated Vibe enables us to serve a broad spectrum of the African American audience with high quality entertainment and information.”

The mag’s new leadership will include its original team members Robert Miller and Leonard Burnett; Uptown Magazine co-founder Brett Wright, and Blackrock Digital partners Chris Smith and Parker McNaughton. This group will be responsible for the re-launch of the Vibe brand and businesses.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to restore the Vibe brand to its well respected position in the minds of both consumers and advertisers,” said Len Burnett. “Together, the Vibe and Uptown brands will allow us to develop an array of integrated digital opportunities and events that reach the dynamic urban consumer.”

Vibe.com, which has become one of the most popular urban culture websites since its launch, is expected to be immediately re-launched. At press time, it hadn’t been updated since the end of June with the magazine’s closure.

The digital portion of the company is said to be the centerpiece of the new venture. The print version will re-launch in November/December 2009, to be followed by quarterly issues in 2010.

Intermedia will immediately revamp Vibe’s design, content strategy and business model in hopes of bringing it back to the stature it once held within urban entertainment.

In addition to Vibe.com, the re-launch will focus on developing the Vibe Lifestyle Network of targeted websites and Uptown Media Network, plus the print output of both Uptown and Vibe magazines. The digital networks will be led by Chris Smith and Parker McNaughton of Blackrock Digital, who will be responsible for oversight of integrated sponsorship and ad sales across all network properties and brands.

Blackrock Digital has been responsible for digital sales on Vibe.com for the past four years, and currently represents over 20 other music and entertainment websites that will be part of the new network strategy.

“Creating a preeminent lifestyle network anchored by two meaningful brands in the urban space is a fantastic opportunity that we had to get involved with,” said Chris Smith, President of Blackrock Digital. “Vibe.com has been a top performing web property for so many established advertisers, and we look forward to bringing that back to life along with key partner affiliate websites.”

Further information and terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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