Guardian Media buys paidContent.org publisher

NEW YORK Fri Jul 11, 2008 6:25pm BST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Guardian News & Media has acquired ContentNext, publisher of media and technology business blog paidContent.org, a sign of the growing importance of such sites to traditional media companies.

ContentNext's founder and editor, Rafat Ali, and Chief Executive Nathan Richardson would continue to run the company as a stand-alone business, said the privately held Guardian, which publishes the Guardian and Observer newspapers in Britain and the Guardian America website.

The Guardian paid about $30 million (15 million pounds), a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

ContentNext, which is based in Santa Monica and New York City, delivers news and analysis to executives in the media, entertainment and technology sectors. It was founded in 2002.

It owns paidContent.org, which covers digital content; mocoNews.net, which covers mobile content; paidContent:UK, which focuses on the UK and Europe; and contentSutra.com, which covers India's digital content market.

"We have long been admirers of Rafat and the business he has built, which is an indispensable resource for so many senior people in our industry," Tim Brooks, managing director of Guardian News & Media, said in a statement.

Blogs have become popular tools for individuals, independent media groups and companies to disseminate news, opinion and often a mixture of both on the Internet.

Newspaper-sponsored blogs are proliferating as well, particularly as publishers like The New York Times and The Washington Post -- which distributes paidContent blog entries on its site -- try to attract readers and advertisers who are abandoning their print editions.

From the beginning of blogs about a decade ago, established media outlets tended to dismiss the people who ran them as gossipmongers and purveyors of rumours and unreliable information, sitting at home in pyjamas and doing little of their own reporting.

That has changed. Blogs like paidContent, Silicon Alley Insider and Manhattan media gossip source Gawker are well-funded, professional operations that cause their share of angst among traditional media by breaking plenty of news.

They also have helped put to rest the notion that blogs and journalism are mutually exclusive professions, sometimes by employing professional journalists.

(Reporting by Kate Holton in London and Robert MacMillan in New York; Editing by Will Waterman and Lisa Von Ahn)

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