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A Cable Channel In Billboard's Future?

NEW YORK (Hypebot) – Janice Min's recent appointment as Co-President of Guggenheim Media's new Entertainment Group, overseeing Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, has led to new appointments at both publications and some discussion about where Billboard is heading. In addition to a glossier revamp of Billboard's print publication, Guggenheim Media is interested in expanding more fully to platforms beyond print and digital which could include an "ESPN-like entertainment media channel." In the process Billboard's print and web properties are not likely to be seriously disrupted.

Job Changes at Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter

Guggenheim Media split into two entities with The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard becoming the basis for the Entertainment Group. THR Editorial Director Janice Min:

"was named to lead Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter as co-president and chief creative officer of the newly created Entertainment Group, with oversight for all editorial direction of the music and entertainment brands. John Amato was named to lead business initiatives as co-president, working parallel to Min."

In the process Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde exited and Joe Levy moved up.

Over at The Hollywood Reporter, former NYT Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren was named Acting Editor and Janice Min's staff memo mentioned who would be moving to Billboard:

"I am thrilled to tell you that Hugo is joining The Hollywood Reporter as acting editor while a team including executive editor Matt Belloni, creative director Shanti Marlar and photo and video director Jennifer Laski get going working on Billboard with me. Hugo will be serving in my stead day-to-day (with me always available and in the loop…perhaps just not ticking off every caption) for the next three months."

Though staff changes are likely to occur at Billboard, Min pointed out to the NY Times that most THR employees remained there after she took over.

Print and Web Changes at Billboard

The general consensus I'm getting from journalists and bloggers covering changes at Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter is that Janice Min did a great job turning The Hollywood Reporter around with a livelier site and a glossier magazine. Though it's not profitable, the turnaround inspired Guggenheim Partners to move Min up and see what she could do with Billboard.

I can't speak to the print editions so I'm at a bit of a loss though my memories of Billboard in print was of a lot of content that would have been more practically and quickly served online. So I can well believe there will be changes there.

As The NY Times states, at The Hollywood Reporter Min:

"created a weekly magazine built on lush visuals and in-depth treatment of the machinations of Hollywood. The magazine covers became sought-after real estate, with film and television stars happy to pose for a magazine that is read in the canyons and on the studio lots of Los Angeles."

Such a publication could also work well for the music industry and support Billboard's current tv events and industry conferences.

On the web the differences may not be that noticeable. Both Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter are covering the hits business. Their homepages have a fairly similar mix and focus on their related industries.

More specifically, THR's music section is very similar to Billboard's homepage. And THR's business section is pretty similar to Billboard biz.

The two biggest differences are site design and the fact that The Hollywood Reporter gives business it's own tab on every page while Billboard seems to have hidden its business section.

If Min's planning to model Billboard's print edition and website after The Hollywood Reporter it should not be as big a disruption as some people imagine.

"You Seen It On The TV Show" – Cypress Hill

The biggest disruptions may well be in the land of tv. As discussed by David Carr and Ben Sisario:

"The changes at Billboard are part of an effort to expand the company’s footprint in live award events built on well-known media products — the Billboard Music Awards, the Golden Globes and the American Music Awards all continue to draw — at time when broadcast television is struggling to attract audiences in real time."

Guggenheim Partners President Todd Boehly stated:

"What we are really trying to achieve is platform maximization…We would have the print, we would have the digital and it would be my goal that we would have other forms of distribution over the next several years."

According to "insiders" part of that plan is to:

"roll THR and Billboard into an ESPN-like entertainment media channel, that would leverage the brands of both."

A Guggenheim spokesperson is quoted as confirming the news with the phrase:

"That is one of Guggenheim's many plans."

Which I think translates as, yeah, that's on our list of things that could happen one day.