Jay Penske, the CEO of MMC, the LA-based online media network, has managed to do the impossible: convince Nikki Finke to, well, change anything. The company recently acquired her powerhouse blog DeadlineHollywoodDaily, and is now implementing the expansion strategy for it: rebranding the network under Deadline.com with a view to use that as an umbrella brand in media/entertainment news, and the Hollywood part of it is headed by Nikki. The new site, which will go live later tonight, has a new backend, an improved navigation and search, along with more advertiser-friendly options compared to the fiefdom Nikki ran till now. It is also adding jobs and a premium section as well, with added features and customization etc, Penske tells me.
It is also planning to launch other verticals covering various cities, most notably in New York covering the media industry, and is close to hiring a senior print media journalist to head that, we have heard. The other cities planned include London, Paris, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Syndney, with rollout planned over the next year or so, Penske said. Ambitious indeed, maybe a bit of an overreach; finding the level of talent like Nikki in these cities would be tough,so would building sales operations on the ground in these separate territories. Deadline will complement its other movie trade site Movieline, though it is a bit bizarre that the two sites covering Hollywood trade will remain separate. Update: The company consider’s Movieline as more focused on the consumer/influencer set, and not trade, Penske says.
This comes after MMC also recently brought on Bonnie Fuller, to run its existing consumer site HollywoodLife.
By Rafat Ali