Sports Illustrated, grandmas, and Mt. Everest.

Greetings from Greenpoint, where our grandmothers are getting way too good at technology.

Here at the HQ, work is hardly slowing down despite the fact we can now open our office windows. Charles got his summer haircut and had to stay home because he’s feeling self conscious, but we’ve reassured him it’ll look perfect in a week or two. Some of us are also hanging out outside of work hours and having tarot readings on the beach, which we can’t recommend highly enough.

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On to the #content: 

Brands are valuable, and content matters

Sports Illustrated, one of the last of the venerable Time Inc titles (along with People, Time, and Money) has finally found an owner. Authentic Brands Group (what a fantastically original name!) is one of the biggest licensing companies in the world, and it’s got its eye on SI’s massive library of intellectual property and legacy content. The magazine known for its iconic bathing suit cover shoots has always been on the forefront of brand licensing, with products like golf clubs and swim suits tied to its brand image, but the sale to Authentic promises to add fuel to the fire.

“[Sports Illustrated] is an incredible platform,” said Jamie Salter, chairman and founder of ABG. “People build brands their entire career to get that kind of brand awareness.”

Licensing is a useful business model for a publisher that still creates great editorial content (shoutout to Open Floor!), but who’s most valuable asset is its brand. And it represents one of the major failures of Time Inc’s leadership (among many, many failures) that they were never able to capitalize on the cultural relevance of its SI, Time and others. 

What’s unclear is what this new business model means for SI’s editorial team, but so far everyone’s saying the right things from CEO Salter on down to SI EiC Chris Stone. But only time will tell what this acquisition means for SI’s editorial operation.