Gothamist — the New York City metro news blog and subsequent locally-based “Ist” properties — long a punchline among bloggers who poked at its overly excitable tones about the varying news minutiae it covered, finally gave themselves something to giggle over: a long-rumored multi-million dollar buyout possibly coming to fruition. But for whom, and at what cost?
Well, according to Paid Content:
Gothamist, the local city blog network that is best known for its New York City edition, is being acquired by Cablevision-owned Rainbow Media, paidContent has learned. Between $5 million to $6 million, though we understand a good portion of that is a performance-based earnout.
That said, Gillian Reagan at Business Insider has noted that the deal with Rainbow Media/Cablevision is supposedly still being hammered out, but also corroborated the “performance-based earnout” aspect of the deal.
One one hand, online news properties that convince larger companies to buy it out are — with a few exceptions — going to be pretty happy with anything that comes before the word “million” at this point, especially one like Gothamist owner Jake Dobkin’s, which has been running strong for seven years. But again, on the other hand, performance-based earnout?
Depending on how true it is, and how strict the deal’s earnout performance rubric is, that would mean that Dobkin’s going to have to actually exhibit his media network’s worth over a period of time, which most bloggers don’t have to do. There’s always the possibility that this could come with some kind of enhancement to help Gothamist get there, but still, depending on how draconian the earnout is, it could be a good deal from Cablevision’s end. Keyword: could. It’s also a pretty price for something that hasn’t exactly seen exponential growth over the last three years. Then again, it’s probably better than the progress they’ve made with Newsday, which was definitely laughed at when it was revealed by the New York Observer in January that the Cablevision-owned Long Island newspaper had only seen the purchase 35 new online subscriptions in the three months following the paper’s content going behind a pretty concrete paywall. So their basis for comparison might be skewed.
It’s worth noting that Dobkin has had an interesting few months leading up to this.
Which raises the question:
Wonder how Dobkin’s gonna feel with Jimmy Dolan’s cock in his mouth?
Depending on whether or not the deal goes through — a fact that has yet to be confirmed — one could speculate something along the lines of “relatively occupied.” The Cablevision chairman isn’t exactly a friend of the media’s. For example:
That said, when you’ve been hustling away at a plucky blog network for seven years, as long as you don’t have to literally fellate any media investors, and you’re fine with the possibility of having your product completely compromised by corporate interests while hustling for traffic against performance incentives to get paid out, for Jake Dobkin and Gothamist, it’s probably not such a bad deal.
Update: Gawker Media owner Nick Denton notes that one should “hold off on the envy” regarding the deal. As if there were that much to begin with.