In the week we learned Politico has developed a cannabis vertical and from a source we gather they expect subscribers to pay a overly hefty $US10K a year to access that information! They should probably read the following NY Post piece detailing what’s happened at High Times and current laying off of workers at Civilized.
The post reports on High Times and the deals they did with Dope Magazine and Culture who are both still waiting for payouts.
Civilized appears to be on the retreat but good to see CBT on the up.
Here’s the report…
There has been no pot of gold for consumer publications in the cannabis market. High Times and Canadian-based Civilized are scrambling to pivot into other areas to augment media. But a trade publication named the Cannabis Business Times is booming, with circulation of 15,000.
High Times, one of the longest-running publications in the field, recently had to extend its bid to raise money through its crowdsourced IPO to the end of October — the latest in a series of postponements as it tries to raise enough money to finally trade on a public market.
The wait has taken its toll.
Culture Magazine, which High Times acquired in 2018, is now suing in California state court, claiming it has yet to be paid the $4 million it was promised to receive by the end of 2018.
High Times also acquired Dope Magazine from founders David Tran and James Zachodni in 2018, reportedly for $11 million, but much of it was financed via stock — which has yet to trade on a public market. At the time, Tran was supposed to be staying on board as a VP brand ambassador of High Times Holding to broaden its events business. That arrangement quietly came to an end in recent weeks. His LinkedIn profile says he is now running his own events business out of Seattle.
With an estimated 22,000 shareholders, High Times Holding has raised only about $22 million, although it is allowed to seek up to $50 million through the IPO offering, known as a Reg A+.
“We hope to have news about a listing very shortly, which will give a lot of clarity to the situation,” said High Times CEO Kraig Fox, a former co-founder of a company now known as Live Nation and an ex-Guggenheim Partners director. Regarding media’s role in the evolving company, he said, “We connect consumers with endemic and non-endemic advertisers. We have live events, trade shows and competitions.”
Based in St. John’s, Canada, Civilized, which counts comedian, actress and author Chelsea Handler as an investor and former Condé Nast executive Mitchell Fox as a board member, is also struggling for traction.
Sources say Civilized laid off most of its editorial staff in recent weeks and cut back the postings on its website as it focuses on its creative agency and events businesses after receiving $5 million in venture money from Canopy River in mid-2018. Civilized CEO Derek Riedle did not return several calls and emails seeking comment over the past few weeks.
One of the more successful stories appears to be the b2b title Cannabis Business Times founded by Noelle Skodzinski in 2014 and sold to Valley View, Ohio-based GIE Media in 2015. “We’re seeing growth because we’re focused on the business side,” said Skodzinski, who stayed on as editorial director of the 15,000-circulation title and just launched Hemp Grower, which is aimed at the farmers market.