It certainly isn’t easy doing a startup in the already crowded celeb media sector, and Bonnie Fuller, the former editor of Us Weekly and editorial director of American Media, has given up on her own idea of a startup, after running into difficulties raising money. Instead, she has joined HollywoodLife.com, a site launched by Mail.com Media Corporation (MMC), the same company that recently bought Nikki Finke’s DeadlineHollywoodDaily blog. She will be president and editor in chief of the site, aimed at women 18-35 interested in entertainment news and style. HollywoodLife will relaunch with a new design and platform in the fall, and the site is planning to hire a staff of about dozen employees by the launch.
This adds to MMC’s growing empire of sites: it was founded in 2004 by Jay Penske and relaunched in 2007, and is also backing a team of ex-Gawker staffers in Movieline.com. MMC, which started as a white label e-mail provider, now bills itself as a “leading digital media company” with the Mail.com portal and a portfolio of lifestyle brands with more than 10 million uniques a month. It claims to have a sports fan site coming soon. Other existing sites include OnCars.com, a JV with Motr, Inc. MMC raised $35 million in a fourth round led by Quadrangle Capital Partners late last year. Likely they will be raising more, judging from Penske’s plans for his company.
As for what happened to Fuller’s idea of launching a new celeb/lifestyle site? Multiple sources told me that they were spooked off by her reported high spending magazine editor ways, and decided to pass on investing in her idea. But, she is a talented editor and pioneer in celeb media, and that’s why she fits into an existing structure better. In the year since she left American Media, she has been blogging on HuffingtonPost and obsessively twittering on all things celeb.
By Rafat Ali