Rainbow Media Holdings Inc. last week said it bought a 10
percent stake in Salon.com, which will develop an original TV series and other programming
based on its Internet content for Bravo, Rainbow's film and arts network.
Rainbow, a unit of Cablevision Systems Corp. and NBC, will
give Salon.com $11.8 million in advertising and promotional time over the 10-year span of
the deal. For example, interstitials and spots for Salon.com will air on Bravo, which
started to run commercials about a year ago.
In exchange, Salon.com will issue 1.1 million shares of
common stock to Rainbow, representing 10 percent of the 'dot-com's' outstanding common
shares. Last week, Salon.com stock traded at about $7.25, putting the value of Rainbow's
shares at roughly $7.8 million.
For some time, Rainbow has been searching for an Internet
partner. The programmer likes "the cool opportunity" that Salon.com provides it
and Bravo, said Josh Sapan, president and CEO of Rainbow Media, whose networks also
include American Movie Classics, The Independent Film Channel and the three New York
"Salon can add to what we do with currency," said
Sapan. The alliance also brings more topicality and Salon.com's unique point of view to
programming on Bravo and the MetroChannels, he added.
Salon.com will develop a new weekly series for Bravo, which
is expected to debut next year. In addition, Salon.com reporters and columnists will
appear on the MetroChannels, which serve parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
"This is our first media alliance with a traditional
partner," Salon.com president and CEO Michael O'Donnell said. "We feel they are
a real comer in the media business."
The series Salon.com is developing for Bravo will be
topical and will cover news, the arts, culture and books, among other subjects, officials
As part of the long-range deal, Salon.com and Bravo
Networks will exchange content and cross-promote throughout their Web properties.
Rainbow and Salon.com will jointly sell advertising on the
new Bravo series and on each other's Internet properties, giving advertisers a
comprehensive online and television opportunity.
Sapan said Salon.com was a good match for Rainbow because
of its "robust content," "dynamic consumer presence on the Web" and
demographics, which are similar to those of the Rainbow network.
David Talbot, Salon.com's founder and editor in chief, will
oversee development of Salon.com's television programming. He will with Rainbow officials
as well as his own board members, veteran TV producer Norman Lear and former CBS president
Bravo and Salon.com have worked together in the past, when
Salon.com presented a live Webcast and an online interview with Meryl Streep for the
O'Donnell said he'd also like to distribute Bravo
programming on Salon.com.
Salon.com is a network of 10 Web sites and two communities
that include news, technology, arts and entertainment, books, health, media, people,
travel and parenting information.
Cablevision is weighing whether to spin off Rainbow as a