Home Confirmed: PaidContent Bought By the Guardian – Here’s How Media History is Made

Confirmed: PaidContent Bought By the Guardian – Here’s How Media History is Made

The trailblazing blog PaidContent, specializing in coverage of the business of new media, will be acquired by the Guardian Media Group, writes Kara Swisher tonight in a very sweet scoop. As Swisher says, it’s a coup for new media – but it’s another great move by the Guardian Media Group as well.

Kara Swisher expects an announcement tomorrow, but the deal was essentially confirmed a few minutes ago on Twitter in a conversation between the Guardian’s Technology Editor Charles Arthur and travel writer Craig McGinty. Jeff Jarvis also says he’s got embargoed info on it – so this sounds very real. Below are our thoughts about what it means.

PaidContent is a blog that some readers here may not be familiar with, but it has been among the top revenue generators among high-profile new media outlets for several years.

What PaidContent Does

The company has a diverse strategy, including PaidContent.org, mobile content coverage at MocoNews, coverage of India at ContentSutra, PaidContent UK, a number of small industry conference and paid research reports.

PaidContent is regularly the first to report on fundings and acquisitions and the site combines speed with high quality writing. All of us could aspire to perform so well. It is notable that Swisher reports the price was “north of $30 million.” While that’s a nice sum for a blog, one of if not the largest sums paid for a blog network to date, but only relatively small technology providers on the web go for so little these days.

The site launched in 2002 and its advertisers are B2B service providers that many of us in the consumer tech world don’t think about much. They are the companies that power the public facing media services we later consume. All the way back in 2006 Business 2.0 magazine reported that PaidContent was set to bring in $1 million in annual ad revenue.

In March PaidContent hired the former head of DownJones and Yahoo Finance to be its CEO.

The Guardian is On Fire

The London Guardian, the flagship newspaper of the Guardian Media Group, has become a trailblazer in its own right well before this deal. It’s a newspaper with its own developer platform; the newspaper hired then Yahoo Developer Network head Matt McAlister in March.

For the last year and a half the Guardian has run a campaign called FreeOurData.org.uk – agitating for public data APIs and portability. How incredible is that, from a news organization? One of the results of that agitation was the creation of the publicly funded mashup contest called Show Us a Better Way, which we covered here last week.

What do you get when you combine cutting edge tech openness with some of the leading new media publishers online? A kick ass publisher ready for the 21st century, hopefully. Meanwhile the rest of the newspaper industry struggles to survive attacks from Craigslist.

If this deal really goes down, and we expect that it will, it’s a great move by all parties involved. Industry watchers have wondered both how leading blogs will be monetized long term and how newspapers will survive. This is one part of that unfolding story.

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