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Want to be CEO of Puck?
Earlier this week, we learned that Puck’s cofounder and CEO Joe Purzycki is leaving. Now the company is looking for his successor.
Would you want the job?
To me, the case for taking it rests primarily on the strength of Puck’s brand. When I say “brand” here, I’m using my favorite definition of the word, taken from The Brand Gap: “A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.”
In Puck’s case, the gut feeling it elicits might be described as the opposite of FOMO. Lots of publications claim to provide access to the “inside conversation,” but Puck actually delivers on this promise – with a mix of scoops, stylized language, and highbrow aesthetics.
In its two years since launch, the outlet has attracted about 240,000 newsletter subscribers, including roughly 30,000 paying members (as of last December). If Puck averages $100 per member, that’s $3 million in subscription revenue.
On top of subscriptions, Puck is also building a B2B advertising business. While its subs model was emphasized at launch, I wouldn’t be surprised if their ad business becomes a more important source of revenue. It’s easy to forget, but Puck is, at its core, a trade publication, with the attention of decision makers in the tech, politics, fashion, and entertainment industries.
The case against taking the job rests on the company’s financing. Back in 2021, Puck raised a $7 million Series A from Standard Industries’ VC arm and TPG Growth. We don’t have the terms of the deal, but that level of funding comes with expectations of significant growth.
To date, Puck has proven it can produce quality, original journalism and generate meaningful revenue, all with a relatively lean staff. But the company will likely need to grow revenue well into the eight figures to justify its valuation. It’s an ambitious trajectory that will leave little room for error.
Reply and let us know what you think.
Here are the top stories in digital media:
The New York Times is getting ~$100 million from Google. The three-year agreement, which was announced earlier this year, allows ($) Google to feature Times content across some of its platforms. The Times also announced several organizational changes, including the formation of an AI-working group led by CPO Alex Hardiman.
Blockworks raised $12 million at a $135 million valuation. The crypto media company plans to use the capital to grow its research and data offering. The company “significantly exceeded” its $20 million revenue target last year and has been largely bootstrapped to this point, having raised only $100,000 to fund its launch five years ago.
Tucker Carlson is launching a new show on Twitter. In an announcement, the former Fox News host criticized the mainstream media and praised Twitter as “the place where our national conversation incubates and develops.” The move appears to violate Carlson’s non-compete, though he accused Fox News yesterday of breaching his contract first.
MTV News is shutting down. The move to close the news division comes as parent company Paramount Global announced that it’s laying off 25% of US employees across Showtime, MTV Entertainment Studios, and Paramount Media Networks.
And here’s more news from around the industry:
BuzzFeed reported $67 million in Q1 revenue, down 27% YoY.
Ziff Davis reported $307 million in Q1 revenue, down 2.5% YoY.
MeatEater hired a new CEO and closed its fourth commerce acquisition.
NewsGuard launched credibility ratings for news podcasts.
Platforms & AI
Meta announced an open-source “multisensory” AI model.
AI-detection tool GPTZero raised $3.5 million.
Spotify removed ($) thousands of songs created with AI by the startup Boomy.
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