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For decades Richard Beckman was among those responsible for turning magazines such as Vanity Fair, GQ, and Vogue into cash machines for Condé Nast, which publishes those titles and a long list of others. (…)

With Prometheus, Beckman is trying to repeat his success within the least glamorous sector of publishing—trade magazines—at a time when print has practically been given up for dead in some quarters. Not only is $70 million of other people’s money at stake; so, it seems, is Beckman’s reputation and the sense that he can be a successful visionary on his own.

After Prometheus bought The Hollywood Reporter, paid circulation of the daily was reported by BPA Worldwide to be just over 12,000. Since relaunching it as a weekly, Beckman says circulation is 72,000, but he refuses to disclose the breakdown of paid vs. free subscriptions. These 72,000 people—the influencers—are pretty much the best 72,000 people any advertiser could dream of reaching, he says. While most of Beckman’s energy has been focused on The Hollywood Reporter thus far, he hopes to apply his approach to Prometheus’s other publications as well. (…)

The New York Post has just printed a story declaring that investors in Beckman’s one-year-old company, Prometheus Global Media, which owns The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek, Billboard, and other trade magazines, are scrambling to get out of their investment. For a man trying to reinvent an Old Media business, the last thing you want to read is that when your company forked over $70 million for eight publications in 2009, it “overpaid.”

{ BusinessWeek | Continue reading }