Felix Dennis Cackles Again, Baits “Multi-platform” Print Rivals On Their Online Ad Failures
Yes, it’s that man again… Last week we told you how Felix Dennis totally played Wall Street private equity hotshots Quadrangle, having sold them a company (Alpha Media, for US $240 million) that’s expected to fall into the hands of creditors before the year is out. Now the Bearded Dwarf is crowing at his rival publishers in Britain for selling themselves on their “multi-platform” credentials when they aren’t actually very good at making money from online advertising.
Somewhat cagily, Dennis told the Telegraph’s Rowena Mason that his formula for making money online was subscription “e-zines and downloads”, before mocking his rivals for crying ‘advertising downturn’ as an excuse for not making better use of their resources to tap into digital ad spend.
“We worked tremendously hard on making every Dennis [Publishing] website profitable. In 2009, we’re estimating 40% of advertising revenues will come from the web, while our competitors average about 15% from online. I guess we’ll find out who’s right about multi-platform, ha?”
Dennis being Dennis though, he was never going to leave a newspaper journalist without a snapper to take back to their editor (although this one fell a long way short of his confession to Times journalist Ginny Dougary that he had killed a man), and this time was no exception, as he delivered a barely disguised threat to his underperforming rivals: shape up fast, or I’ll do it for you.
“We’re lucky enough to have plenty of cash and I find myself constantly drawn to rivals experiencing difficulties. No one else is taking advantage of the web like we are and we could turn plenty of companies around.”
As Paid Content reports, Dennis Publishing is in robust financial health, with accounts at Companies House revealing a turnover of £70 million and pre-tax profits of £7 million, so they’re ripe to vulture in on companies struggling to come to terms with the current economic downturn. In this regard, Dennis may be cribbing from his fellow mogul Rupert Murdoch’s controversial acquisition of the Wall Street Journal, which is covered in some detail by Michael Wolff’s upcoming book The Man Who Owns the News (a short extract ran in the Guardian on Monday). Dennis seems to have a certain affection for the Dirty Digger, and has even dedicated a poem to him – check the vid below. Publishers beware…