J2 Global CEO Vivek Shah on being a serial acquirer of media businesses

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Today's show is brought to you by Microsoft, Azure, with advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, Azure, helps businesses amplify bold, ideas and scale them worldwide hear more about how Azure enables innovative teams to push their ideas further a little later in the show and start your free account today at Azure dot com slash trial. This is Recode media with Peter Kafka. That is me I'm part of the vox media podcast network. I'm here in New York City of box media headquarters Vivek shot, they get your name. Right. You did. We me CO j two global company. Probably have not heard of I've heard of it. You've heard of it formerly see of Ziff Davis media company. You may have heard of it may be using other people that is someone that I wanted to bring on for a while because he doing something sort of counter to a lot of other media companies. He's been in the news on and off the last couple years because he was gonna by Gawker media one point did by Mashal, I'm assuming maybe you're in the market for other distressed assets. Always in the market. We can talk about that. Let's set the stage. Explain what j two global is show. Jay is a four billion dollar publicly traded internet information services company. So to your point maybe not everyone in your audience has heard of Jade. To but you've probably heard of the forty one of the forty or multiple of the forty plus brands that we own so we own hygiene, we own Mashal we own PC MAG. We own speed test. We own Everyday Health one of the whole conversation about speed test and a little bit. And we'll go on we own basically forty brands there. Either ad-supported content or subscription supported services, and you used to just run the digital media portion of the thing. And now you're on the entire yes. So the whole mcgilla is about one point two billion of revenue half of that revenue are subscription supported internet services. Things like Yvonne campaigner viper, which is antivirus and the other half is digital media. Which is if Davis and Everyday Health in the connection between the digital media side of the company and the rest of the company is what other they're all internet. I look at is the idea that mash Abol is supposed to feed viper in somewhere. To Sara supposed to be necessary. Think of us as a portfolio company, and we love the diversification that a portfolio bring so diversification is business model addresses subscription. It's content versus services, it's verticals tack health etcetera. So from our point of view, they're connected by the internet thread, and there's another connection, which is these are all businesses that are playing some role in the analog to digital transition. So I think of you as in prior to all this you were at timing running their their brands rising star one had runs if Davis you can go Google's if Davis at one point a giant magazine publisher, eventually bankrupt out of bankruptcy is now a publisher of a smaller portfolio of assets that you won't. Yes. I think you a guy who for the last three or four or five years pretty much to anyone who would ask would say. Most of you guys are doing it wrong. Most of the media business is. Going in the wrong direction. You're raising too much money. You're pursuing this advertising base slash Facebook slash Google bail strategy. It's not gonna work you can do a victory lap. Now. If you want because it kind of sounds like you had it, right? All along. I mean, look, I think from a digital media point of view, we understood pretty early on that display only by display I mean ad banners. And pre roll ads alone wasn't gonna work. Right. So recognizing that we needed multiple revenue streams, which when you go back to my Time, inC days when you go back to your magazine days, we've always had multiple revenue streams subscription there's advertising stuff. So we understood that right? And so when you look at what we've done on the media side more than half of our revenues are not display advertising. So it's either performance marketing, which we can talk more about, but it's basically driving transactions and driving leads. So yes a form of advertising, but different not R P base not request for proposal based not ad served base. But really driving transact, and you're not getting paid for showing someone getting. Paid when someone do some. So to be clear we do have a display advertising business, and it's a substantial in two hundred fifty million dollars a year. But we have north of that in performance, marketing and subscriptions, so back to your original point. Yes, I think we saw that display only wouldn't work. I think the other thing that probably distinguishes us from some not all digital media companies is we're very earnings and cash flow focused. So we run the business and sort of a really traditional way. Right. It just happens to be a digital media business. But from our point of view, we're here to generate cash is that is that just simply a function that you're publicly traded, and you have to show that no, I think, it's our mindset, and I think, you know, going back to my Time, inC days what maybe not everyone associates with timing. But I do a very disciplined company, it ran a very sound business. So the fifteen years I spent there really train. Wind me to run a media business like a business, and it was in decline for a lot of that time and it was being buff. You had the same internet problem that everyone else had, but you guys were making money year after year after year and all the folks who were there, I'm assuming that includes you said man, the problem was is that we had to take our profits and hand him over to Time Warner, and we could never do anything else. He l look. So I think the one thing that if we could have done differently. I think is to take the cash that we were generating from our operations and invest it back into the business either in the form of investments in the business operating investments or capital investments or acquisitions, and so I won't go through the acquisitions would've showed us. Well, we had a list that if we had transacted on any of those I think would have fundamentally changed that company. And so when I moved into if Davis, so I spent fifteen years at time timing when I moved into Ziff Davis just understand what Ziff Davis was. Ziff Davis had just come out of bankruptcy had one brand that was BC MAG doing sixteen million revenue losing some millions that we acquired for about twenty two and a half million dollars. So I didn't start with necessarily the most example. But what we understood was that. There was a path for that brand that if we could take the cash we were going gonna generate from that brand and acquire other brands, which we started to do that we could start to build something interesting. And really it's from that early Colonel which was two thousand and ten to today, we have a six or media business. So we understood the role that acquisitions could play in building a modern digital media company too. So that's an important part. And I think that distinction. So let's explain what performance marketing is. I think broadly, this is what people call ecommerce. Now, it's a combination of at least at least when the talk my media company. Yeah. So it's the combination of. Ah for us. It's affiliates. Ecommerce so. Links on articles that drive your users to a commerce site to transact, and you get paid when when someone click on the link or when they go there, and then maybe by or in some way, transact on the on the other side. Correct. So turning consumers of content into consumer products and services, it's something that I think a lot of businesses now are doing last year's a lot of lot of vox media hasn't little group dedicated to this BuzzFeed does the New York Times went out and bought wire cutter. And that is the core of that business. Is you go ask them what kind of refrigerators, should I buy buy this one you end up at best buy, and maybe the maybe wire cutter gets a cut of that deal. So we saw that eight years ago, and that's a two hundred and fifteen million dollar a year business for us and think about the margin profile of that's very high right because I've already spent my costs on detoro infrastructure at cetera. It also is different than your traditional ad. Business where someone says I'm going to buy a certain amount. And then you fulfil it here. It's uncapped as long as you drive. A transactional pay you, and we love that characteristic of the business. So yes, it's more competitive. More people are focused on it. But I actually think that's a positive because I'll tell you when we started an affiliate commerce most affiliate, publishers weren't the highest quality aditorial publishers. Now, you look at the affiliate commerce industry, and you've got under numbers. We've got New York Times. You've got the properties inside of this building vox, you've got quality product magazines, really pushing. Yeah. So that's good. So so that is performance marketing, another element that we have that some of these companies also have or may not have is legion where there are certain products and services, particularly in the enterprise, you're not going to transact online where we're helping collect lead forms that turned into something that a salesperson can follow up very old model and has been around as long as the internet's rape VI model. Right. Waxes and wanes, I think depending on sort of like there was a lot of credit cards stuff mortgage stuff comes back and forth, but for things high consideration products, right? Correct. Correct. Correct term for it where someone if if they lose a customer, they're gonna make an enormous amount of money. So they can pay you a significant chunk of money for that lead. That's right. They are allowable as high so given that that's the core of your business or the main thrust of your business when you're. Looking at things you wanna buy or maybe even build? I'm assuming that means that anything you're looking at has to to work in that model. So again, this is not everything. So let's go to the j two portfolio for a second. I think if you are affiliate commerce and performance marketing is one play in our playbook. Subscriptions is another is another play. But let's focus on performance marketing since we're talking about it, and we can get into subscriptions. So yes. So take Mashal. We had looked to acquire Mashburn some years ago. I love the brand I reached out to Pete Cashmore the founder, great guy. This was just last year or the deal. So we bought it last year too. Yeah. But some years ago I approached the company about buying and beat at the time chose to raise capital, and he did and he raised a Fairmont account. This is a property just to go way back that started off as a my space enthusiasts blah. He started when he was like twelve or something, and it's telling you how to modular my space, right, then became. Slake fantastically sorta successful nerdy tech specific site. And then over time intentionally tried to get much bigger and much broader. And that was the challenge. Right. I think when when we were having our original conversations, and it was a tech and digital oriented publisher. It was a profitable business. It was a great business. I think once they raised capital it changed their ambition. And so they went beyond that focus on Dettori. But more importantly, they went into a studio business, and they went into a business. Call velocity which was a software business, and I think was studio business meaning video content. We're going to make stuff, yes. For social platforms for the check books that have been out by content unit flexible by show from us. Correct. And so look I think what ended up happening. It went from a money making business to a money losing business and then over time all of those losses eight into the venture cash. Was on the balance sheet, and they're not a money. And so we look at it and say, okay, but wait a minute. If you go back in time, and if you reverse those decisions, it was a good nice core profitable business, and in inside of our portfolio. That's fantastic. So we're looking at a manageable. You say all right. It's a business with over many page views. Are you interested in the entirety of the business? Do you all we care about is specific part of that business because that's what we can attach affiliate adds to. Well, I think we in that case before you even got into adding affiliate revenue to it. Was there a profitable core? And the answer is. Yes, I mean, the the pro there was a profitable business that was inside of an unprofitable company. And so if you can reverse the decisions that made unprofitable and get back to the profitable core, your ready in a good place. And so that's what we did. Now, you layer in a new revenue stream in this case affiliate commerce, and you're in a great position so fast forward a year. Now, I think when we. We acquired Mashal their annual losses were an excess of sixteen million dollars a year. They are now a solidly profitable, you know, prime mid single digit millions business for us. It is I'm assuming you had to shrink that staff in order to get to that. Well, I mean, you'd had you've had to you know, you look for when you when I talk about reversing decisions he do that one or two ways you can try to sell pieces of the business off that you don't feel our core in this instance, they weren't really saleable assets. Or you make the decision that they're difficult decisions. But they're the right business decisions to narrow the workforce to focus on the core business. And so, yeah, you're almost shrinking to grow the business. But the alternative is a situation like Mike with business goes away entirely. Which would be a shame a brand like Mashburn. Well, should not have gone away. And thankfully, it did not go. Did you guys look at Mike? We didn't know. So why why look at a measurable, but not a Mike from very? Very very ten thousand foot perspective, they seem like similar their publishing on the internet. They're targeting younger people something different since right? One is mashed bullet established a profitable business. Right. So in its history as I said in profitable in the past it was and then decided to expand with venture money into areas that made it unprofitable, and you can reverse that. Yes. So that's a key difference. The second is if you going to participate in affiliate commerce, you need a brand that has some thority over helping inform some buying decisions Mashal has that. So when Nashville talks about the best VPN or the best headphones of the best, laptops, you'll pay attention. See you need a brand that can be attached to that kind of content. If you're going to be in the affiliate commerce business. So thirty in thing that also has affiliate commerce attached service journalism what we call service journalism when we were. I want to know what kind of headphones to buy Google when you get a list of ten results. One might be wire-cutters one mash Mashabela one might be the verge. Correct. You can make money by attaching adds to those recommendations, correct? So you you also looked famously made a bid for Gawker media when they were in bankruptcy, the stalking horse. You're the stalking. It didn't end up picking it up went to Univision. Correct. That's a whole other story now. But what was the plan had you had one that bit Gizmodo in life? Hacker to great brand tech side, and sort of generalized how to get things done. So. Yeah. So they were I think a perfect fit within our portfolio within our tech media portfolio. They had already started down the affiliate commerce path with something called Kinjo, which was really more a commerce content management system. God bless you. If you could explain that, Nick Denton tried for ten years. I think it was just basically technology to inform affiliate commerce. So they went down a path. We understood we thought we could exceleron that path. And so we were optimistic about our abilities with those properties. I think the rest of the properties were less of a fit trust. And we would have thought of ways possibly to you know, figure alternatives out for those. But we mow them off. Yeah. Yeah. And we've done that and other you know, we sold three businesses last year at j too. So we're not averse to that. It's gotta fit within the portfolio, but we really like those two brands, and we're like the price we were in it. I think if I'm not mistaken we were at ninety million dollars at that time. So it is you would have bought the entire portfolio. I think minus Gawker dot com. You would've been very interested in to those properties and figured out. What to do with the rest of them people? Forget this because Moto was the original property for Gawker Gawker came after his motto, right? When you buy an asset like a mash -able, or when you look at by an asset like a Gawker media, and they have a different culture than the j two's, if Davis culture, how do you think about how you're gonna figure out that transition how you're going to keep the people you want to keep from the the company you're buying look. I think it comes down to people wanna be in a position where they can succeed where they can win where we can invest where we can be on offense we can acquire. I mean, I think that's one of the things that's been very compelling to a lot of the people that we've acquired into the company and have stayed with us is they're able to leverage our balance sheet are cash to go and do more and build larger businesses. So so it sounds very rational. Right. But when you're talking, especially music media, right rural Delic lot of us are delicate flowers, and we think that our work is. Very important, and we're, you know, advocates of the first amendment, etc. And you go to somewhere like Ziff Davis Davis specifically like we have a model where we are gonna make money when people come to our site click on a link, and it's a good business can be very good business. It may not be sexy. It may not be interesting to someone at a cocktail party. It may not get covered in one of the teen media blogs. Do you have to sort of go to people say this is the new reality? Can you soften that blow for that? But I don't I don't think and I'm not asking them to think entirely about J to a massive thing about their brands you work at I g n. We acquired ITN. It was not a successful business. It had been a successful business, and we returned it to its par glory. So everyone who works at I gen feels like I work at a great brand. We did the same with the PC MAC PC MAG was bankrupt. Now the team there and a lot of those folks have been there for awhile field fantastic because they're part of a winning brand. I think the same as happening now at Mashal where you've got members of the team who feel really good about the fact that this is a successful profitable business that isn't going anywhere. It's very hard to imagine this when working with with the Gawker folks, especially when you see sort of what happened at Univision where they were theoretically more aligned, you know, cut to a year later, the the folks that Gawker slash Gizmodo, a writing really savage pieces about how F their owners are. I can't imagine that culture working with your culture. Yeah. Look, I think if it's if they perform and deliver results more satisfied, right? So we're I mean, you know, me enough that you know, we're not trying to impose some. Overarching corporate will one of the things I think we've done really well j two is let each of the brands determine their own paths with certain understanding around requirements around results at cetera in this discipline. But in the end, there's a self determination job. And then after you've done your job or as long as you've done your job. You can fly your freak like, yeah. I think that's absolutely right. And look, I know aditorial cultures. Right. I mean, I spent fifteen years at timing. And so we understand that fundamentally they wanna be in a position to do what they're here to do it if I can create an environment that allows. Allows these aditorial folks to write produce video audio whatever it is. And the way they want. They feel good about that right versus. I don't think people within our portfolio a worried about whether or not we're gonna make payroll whether or not we're going to be around in three months, and if you can the digital media landscape, there are a lot of people worried about whether or not their company's going to make payroll that is a very good theme. I return through and come back in just a second after here from fine advertiser. This is advertiser content. When disaster strikes affected families and communities. Call on aid organizations for relief and to help them rebuild their lives. We have responded to more than three hundred fifteen disasters around the world. 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Plus, they offer free shipping and free returns on all US orders. We can make that even better for fifteen percent off your first order, visit marine layer dot com. Enter the. Promo code, Peter at checkout, that's marine like marine and a layer the layer dot com, promo code, Peter. Record Leveque show CEO j two global we were just talking about the media landscape last year was rough seems like this year is going to be rough. I mean, if you were community genius to figure this out, right? If you were worried about where your money was going to come from last year that might be even more acute this year. One. What does that mean for your the existing business? You guys have I was looking at your last Q three looks like you were down a little bit on the media side. No overall up for the year. But I think the Q Q three was down year over year. No, no, no. Yeah. I think. Yeah. Absolutely. I blame it on my phone. Yeah. No. So we. Look we fundamentally we acquire businesses. The j two acquisition system is core to what we do. So we are entering into a market where we see some sort of deflation in prices that'll be good for us. So just to give you an order of magnitude over the last ten years, we have spent two point two billion dollars as a company acquiring companies. I think since our inception which is about two decades ago, we've acquired one hundred seventy companies so it is core to what we do. So for entering in two hundred environment. That is a buyer's market. That's fantastic for us in assuming that is going to be a lot of stuff out there. I'm sure a lot of stuff comes to you already. Think we kind of cover this. But just just lay it out one of the things that you most want to buy and one of the things that you wanna take a pass on. So look, I think that it was suing there's some things where there in the middle where like I don't wanna pay this for. But if it's offered basically new price, we have a an expression we use that we sort of paraphrase from Berkshire Hathaway, which is we buy fair businesses at great prices or great businesses at fair prices. And so what does that mean that means that there are businesses that you know, where the value is there where we see an opportunity to change something to create value. Whether that's the shrink to grow that we talked about the that's introducing a new revenue stream. And then there are businesses that are just fantastic businesses that we can throw fuel on the fire, and whether that's we can help them with marketing, whether that's we can help them with cross sell whether that's we can provide capital for them to pursue their ambitions. We'll look for those businesses too. And so a business like. That is cla or humble bundle or offers dot com. These are businesses that were fast going businesses when we bought them and all we have done is made them better, right, which is different than maybe some of the other properties that we were talking about where it was more of a turnaround situation. So we'll look across the landscape for opportunities. And ultimately the price that we pay is a function of where that businesses if you talk to the folks NBC at Comcast who up until a couple years ago, we're putting a lot of money into properties. Like this one media BuzzFeed they bought shares and snap. Now, they'll say is we're not very interested in companies that are dependent primarily in advertising. We're not very interested in companies that are Facebook dependent Google dependent are you in that same boat. Or is there a world where some of those things make sense for you. Look, it's case by case. Right. So I I think what they say is we really like commerce businesses. We like this consumers pay money for something. And and and we can partake in that. Look, I think, you know, ultimately, we look at every acquisition opportunity with one central question, which is can we create value? Right. And so and there are multiple ways in which we've created value. So it's hard for me to sort of say anything definitively like we will never do this. And we will always do this. It's case by case, and it should be right. And so we're very good at is identifying evaluating diligence ING transacting integrating acquisitions where we feel. We can create value such that it's got to be this where by owning the business. We have made it better. Right. That that we unikely can make about I assume there are two kinds of things coming across your desk. One is a Mike or a mash -able where we're we are out of money. We are going to have to close the door fair businesses a great price of X number of days. Like, someone isn't bias. We're going away. And then I'm assuming there's another buck. Bucket of people who say we business we can keep operating the business. It's just not what we thought it was going to be and or investors want out are those harder to make happen because you're trying to please different constituencies versus one thing as a fire sale in dollars dollar. I mean, again, look, I think transacting in general's never been easy, right? A lot of things have to line up. We tend to be very good at it. Because I think we very quickly come to a point of view and can move decisively and with integrity. And I think you know, we have good reputation when we transact that we behave. We behave the way we say we're going to behave. So there's no re-training. There's no sort of, you know, eleventh hour renegotiations that's not who we are. Because transactions are core to what we do so maintaining our reputation in the marketplace is critical. So no again, I think that in the third category of businesses, which really are these are great, fundamental businesses. They don't need to sell. But they recognize that if. They can get access to our balance sheet. Maybe they can go do something interesting. So let's talk about UCLA because we talked about it earlier speed speed Saint out if you if you Google speed test, if you've if because you your internet doesn't work as fast as you think it should maybe even downloaded the app because you're nerd like myself. You get that the little the gauge the gauge hit it and tells you your internet slow cracked so assume that you made money by showing me a banner ad there. You've told me I'm wrong. So step back and talk about the size of Okla. Sue cla has three hundred sixty million installs of its app all organic on various mostly phones. So that's an extraordinary statement people like me who put it on my own. So it's more than just a narrow universe of people. I figured I was really really narrow slice of nerd them. Because most people just go my internet doesn't work throw their phone. No. So three hundred sixty million installs the app. So when we looked at acquiring the company, you're right. It fundamentally. Ran programmatic ads so adds that it didn't sell that Google placed within the websites Batat not or within the app business. That's the business, and he was growing because the usage and the traffic was growing. So we looked at it. And we came to understand it because we were working with them on some editor real content. Oh, tell us the fastest is peas tell us the fastest mobile network. So we knew it was that's an interesting business. And so as we got to know them, we said, look, what are you doing with all of this information, you're sitting on this incredible view into broadband and into networks and into experience is just to be clear. Right. So me being frustrated with my internet speed other at work, or at home is somewhat is is interesting to a point to me. But if you multiply me times three hundred million people, and you know, what my internet will always internet speeds are in lots of different places, you know, where they are that becomes valley. But why well, I think the aggregated view, not the individual view, the aggregated view into the quality and performance of networks, and whether that's Verizon's network or Comcast network or Sprint's network or Vodafone's network. That's interesting to those sellers of broadband and allows them to understand where they're weak and where they're competitively disadvantaged. And so it actually helps all of us what it does is. It's kind of a rising tide lifting all boats, where we're helping these networks understand where they need to do better. So you buy that you have information that you're selling it. We sell subscription product the data as a service product, they get a real time view into the state of their networks versus their competitive set in. Territories by devices by operating system by time of day. There are a lot of variables that go into the experience. You have is a customer with the idea that it. Could inform their spectrum bidding. You know when they go into those auctions to bid on spectrum. It can inform their network investments can form a lot of things about the very product that they're selling that's valuable. So when we looked at who khloe said, okay back to where we started great business. Great natural growth rate great usage selling advertising, programmatic Lii. And now there's this other part of the business that we can layer into it. So UCLA as sellers to us like the vision had some concerns about investing to build the infrastructure loan company. Correct. We were building a business intelligence software platform. That's not what they did that takes capital. That's where coming into j to. We don't think twice that is a good capital investment. Then they had a list of companies down detector, mosaic echo companies. You may not have all that are. In this world of broadband intelligence that we have now acquired for okla- that are part of the business unit. So back to why does a new click it interested in j two they would not have made the investments, I think in the speed test intelligence products. That's what it's called the data service, and they certainly wouldn't have gone out and acquired the businesses that we've acquired for them, and that allows them to build something really special when I down in an era where people are particularly now. At least the press is particularly interested in privacy. I'm sure I've clicked the button that says sure this. Okay. I'm sure I also have not thought of why? No because I talked to about it. But I'm sure the ninety nine point ninety nine percent of people who are doing. This are not considering their data is being is gone up somewhere as being resold. Aggregated? It's not personalized are you concerned at all in an era with GDP are just an increase in privacy that a product. Like that takes information, and sort of resells it is is vulnerable in someone. Look, I think number one if you see the disclosure that we have it's very strong. It's very apparent. It's not hidden. And it's very clear what we're doing. I guarantee you that that we could walk around and find however, maybe be downloaded that app around here. And then of them have any idea what they've signed on for. He even though they've clicked. Yes. And they're intelligent people. And they'll look I think so as as far as how you would compare disclosures versus others. It's as good as it gets. Yeah. You may argue that no one ever looks at the that's that. I I can't solve human nature. But what are we doing? We're providing data to make your experience better. That I'm not targeting ads. We get a lot of inquiries into our data ad targeting for location data. We don't do that. We don't sell that. So our data business is not what you hear about with a lot of other companies where they're essentially selling your information. So someone can target an ad against you. That's not what we're doing. Are there other quiz up there? So that's the only when you're going to buy in that category where things where you can take maybe consumer behavior and figure out a different way of monetize in the new traditionally done. It's a great question. And it is thank you the one is it is when we start to think about the different models. We like, how do you find properties on the internet that have an engaged audience where the exhaust of what they do is a body of information that a company would find very valuable. Not for at targeting but to run their business exhaust, meaning the data. That's picked up in the transit. Yes. And that's an interesting perspective. Right. I mean, we have fundamentally we have audiences would try to extract rent from these audiences historically, the main rent was an ad, but there are. Attention. I put an ad in front of it. That's transaction. And you get that. Whether you've thought it through whether it's just the way, you've always, that's right. But can that audience by virtue of what they're doing in form business intelligence that's one product, and then the other piece of this which is a good segue to our humble bundle. Transaction is can we sell a subscription service to our audiences? That is not put a paywall in front of the thing. You were getting for free. I've never heard of humble bundle until I was looking at your here. Q three was morning, which apparently misread anyway. It is a fantastic business. So it is a subscription service where you get access to a trove of games video games. And every month, we give you a handful of new games. And so you pay this one fee think of it almost like a subscription video James version of this has been there's been subscription gaming's. But this one is done pretty well. And I think the reason it's done. Well, is that they've got a great perspective on which games to include each month. We also finance our own games. We have proprietary games that are humble games that come into our service. So it's a little bit. Like, you know, when you start to think of like a net flicks you start with licensed content, and then you start to move into original content. We sort of done a very similar thing. But the important thing is to it's a it's a great business on its own. They've done a fantastic job. But we have I g n which has the largest audience of gamers worldwide. So instead of saying as many publishers have done, well, how do we charge? Our users for something. They're already getting which is the continent. I Jan we're not doing that. We're seeing leverage audience coming in here. Say a paywall. Yes. Or we're not going to call it a pay while we're going to call it a at affinity group in we're going to give you extra to right. You pay us know what we're saying is we have the service over here. And we're going to. Get it. So when you look at most subscription businesses, the number one expense marketing acquiring subscribers that is the number one expense. You will see in most subscription business. You're doing the math how much pain to acquire this. This is how long are they gonna stick around customer versus the lifetime value. Right. That is the CAC versus LTV equation that is the formula of subscription businesses. What happens when your cat goes down though, because you're an owner of audiences, and that's our other epiphany. So when we think about our media businesses, we think about what subscription services can we build or acquire that are of interest to our markets into our audience is so that we can have a Whealy attractive caq LTV equation. So that is different. So when a lot of media companies talk about we're going for subscriptions. They're really talking about trying to get. Their users to pay for something that has historically been free tough. That's hard. Oh, getting paid for that was free a month ago right on this very site. It's not just information. It's the information used to get for free. We're not gonna charge you pay that's hard. But doing what we're doing that I g n and humble bundle is attractive. So that is another model where we think about what other subscription services are out there that somebody else's invented that when plugged into our re him would normally have to pay. I g n to advertise that business is on the business. You're saving money precisely it's want to go back to the thing. We talked about at the beginning of the year or beginning of this conversation. We had David Carey here a year ago, he was running Hearst the time saying, these businesses are all these digital media. It's easy to say it's easy to lose money in a digital media business, and I'm going to buy you and all your air on shares collectively partially, right? Do you think that rate of failures slash consolidation is going to celebrate this year? Well, let me start by saying I don't want anyone fail. So we don't root for people to fail said. No. And look I think that fundamentally I'd much prefer to be buying healthy businesses, and you don't want you don't want distressed asset buyer. I just wanna be viewed as a crater of value in the acquisitions that we do we won't create value die, and we won't create value. That is is an excess of what anyone else could do with the asset. I can tell you that in the end when you can get a fundamentally healthy business at an attractive price. That's the most optimal occasion. So that's what we'd rather have a month. You know, are you rubbing your hands together saying all right? This is the time to buy again, we buy all the time. So from my point of view, every market upmarket down market, flat market, where acquires I mean, if again, if you look at J two's history, if you look at the digital media portion of to the non digital media portion Ajay to we transact, that's what we do. So whether the market is a good market or bad market. We're gonna find opportunities. That's what we're good. So I don't sit here and think too much about things going to be able to control which is the marketplace in the end again, I'm simply saying my preferences. I'd rather have quality businesses that we can get at reasonable prices. What's life like for you running a public company that again, most people wanna think this includes Wall Street haven't heard of at time Inc. You're rising star. I probably heard slash Sawyer day. More often, you'll probably on more panels. Yeah. I think you relatively anonymous right now is one of the reasons cited to have you here. How important it is for you to have increased profile other for yourself or for the company if it's a benefit torch shareholders than it's important, right? And so I think the way I've approached myself in this last year's the CEO which to and it's only been one year is very much just focus on results focus on getting to know Archer holder base and our analyst universe, and and I've known them. But. Not certainly in this seat. And so that's been super important. I think what we wanna make sure of our that those who invest in public companies who would consider buying a of j com, which is which is our ticker symbol that the information's out there for them to make an informed choice. That's important, but there's some sales in this. Right. You do need to sort of Ray. I mean human beings are human being. And if they haven't heard of the company, and you need to start explaining to them with the company is that is a harder sell than if the, oh, I I I know. Building awareness of the company. Amongst those stakeholders is important. So I wouldn't dispute that getting personal recognition and and seeing my name out. There doesn't look Recode media pug has come on all because hug, Peter. Thank you know. Now, this is going to you're going to zip right up. Most admired seats. Listen. I, you know, again, there are plenty of great companies that produce terrific shareholder returns that like us are very much focused on results and less focused on press unless focused on bringing attention to ourselves if you look in the media industry, this seems to be a correlation between the things that have most buzz and working least seemed to be highly correlated. I'm not going quietly. So I don't know I, you know, I I don't think we need to over think it. But to your point, look, you're right. We're probably I've said this. We are the largest internet company that many people have never heard of. I mean at four billion dollars of enterprise value. That's a public number. That's on a made up number. It's a real number. We get reprised every second of every day is a public company. Yeah. This should be more awareness of what we're doing. And how we're doing it. But I will tell you that. I think those in the media industry in the internet business, even in the public markets. Think awareness is increasing. I think you're going to see your Werner's increase passed. So I'm glad I was able to help affect thanks for coming on great to be here. Thanks to you for listening. We love that you listen. Even more. If you tell someone else about this show, you know, how to do that. So please do that. If you're feeling extra generous review on apple podcast or wherever you listen to fine podcasts. Most particularly this one. Thanks to our sponsors. Thanks to Kate thirteen invokes media. They sell ad. So you can listen to Recode media for free Joe Robbie EDA's this show. He's awesome. So my producers gold, Arthur Eric Johnson, you the Rico media audience. You are the most awesome of all. We'll see you next week. Hello, Recode media listeners. This is enthusiastically telling you that I'm going to be at south by south west and March perhaps I'm there right now as you're listening to this. If you're going to be there, maybe there right now, you should go to the deep end by vox media. That's our experiential space, which means it's a space. You can hang out and do cool things like drink and listen to live music at the Belmont. Which is a ten minute walk from the Austin convention center. Friday, March eighth through Sunday March tenth will be hosting a series of live podcast musical spotlights. Eater approved food and much more. I'm going to be there. Cara Swisher is going to be there. The host of the verge cast. You're going to be there and boxes the wheat. We will have a bunch of cool special guests, I'll be interviewing Mark Cuban care is going to be interviewing VC Arlan Hamilton the folks from the ringer will be there. They've got a couple of surprises coming for you. It mission is free. But space is limited. So you've got to register if you wanna show up here. How you do it? You can RSVP at vox media, events dot com slash s X S W sounds more complicated than it is. It's vox media events dot com slash s s w you can also look at my Twitter because and all that information up there for you to look at it. It mission is free. But space is limited. So don't wait. I will see you there.

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