U.K.-based Guardian News & Media, publisher of the Guardian and the Observer newspapers, has purchased PaidContent.
In a nutshell that means that arguably the most Web-savvy newspaper company on earth has purchased what is arguably the most important Web-only B2B property on earth.
First, let me offer my congratulations to Rafat and his team.
They have built a truly remarkable series of products in less than six years -- largely by avoiding the cost and workflow problems of legacy print companies. As important, Rafat understood what so few people did understand six years ago -- the world of content was moving away from print. And there was need for news product that could cover use online and mobile media to cover developments in online and mobile media.
Second, let me suggest that this news has implications for all of us in the B2B space here in the United States. Here's why: although PaidContent is a global company, with sites dedicated to media news in India and the U.K., it's probably best-known for its U.S.-based parent site. And the purchase seems to represent the first major incursion into the U.S. market by Guardian News & Media's B2B unit, called Guardian Professional.
I happen to know that executives from Guardian spent a lot of time in the U.S. a few months ago, meeting with some of the smartest folks in the online world. They asked a lot of questions. And they impressed a lot of people. And my guess is that they spotted a number of opportunities (such as PaidContent) and a number of vulnerabilities in the B2B space.
The news about PaidContent comes just a day after Bloomberg announced a major reorganization that will separate its Web and multimedia news operations from the "text" news unit that writes for the Bloomberg terminals.
Clearly something is happening here.
And years from now we may look back and realize that this was the week that the B2B industry in the U.S. entered an all-new era.
For more on the deal, check out coverage from ReadWriteWeb, which offers some good background on the Guardian's recent progress online.
For some background on PaidContent, as well as a link to a video in which Rafat explains the journalism theories behind the company, check out this earlier post of mine.
If you're not already familiar with the Guardian, here's a good a place as any to start -- an article from earlier this week about U.S.-based B2B publisher IDG. (Disclosure: IDG is a client of mine.)
tags: journalism, b2b, media, trade press, magazines, newsletters, business media, web-first publishing