Did Vibe miss the online vibe?

July 2, 2009

Here’s an entry from our very own Reuters New York equities team summer intern Chavon Sutton. (Thanks, Chavon!)

Did Vibe magazine, the print ambassador of hip-hop culture, voice and style, pass up a chance to survive last year?

Vibe, the baby of acclaimed producer Quincy Jones (the composer who produced the late Michael Jackson’s mega-hit albums, “Thriller” and “Off the Wall,”), said earlier this week that it was shutting down immediately.

A partnership with an online gossip website serving African-American readers, might have given it room to keep producing, according to the site’s founder and editor.

Fred Mwangaguhunga, who runs Mediatakeout.com, told us that in the year before Vibe’s collapse, it offered the magazine a revenue-share deal, but Vibe refused.

“We came to Vibe and offered it a deal where they’d sell our ads and in return, they’d get a stake in the ads they sold,” Mwangagunhunga said.

The partnership could have given Vibe “$1 million a month, but they didn’t want it,” he said.
$1 million a month? Hard to say. (For what it’s worth, Mwangaguhunga says Mediatakeout.com gets 3 to 5 million unique viewers and 150 million page impressions per month.)

We tried to reach Vibe, or whatever is left of it, but a computerized voicemail message at the magazine’s office said: “Message quota exceeded. Goodbye.”

Did Vibe take a wise pass in the hopes of striking a better online deal? Or do its actions suggest that it is another example of entrenched print types avoiding imminent change?

It could be a pointless question. Jones told EbonyJet.com that he plans to buy back the magazine, which had a circulation of over 800,000, according to The New York Times.

Incidentally, Ebony apparently isn’t interested in working with Mediatakeout either.

“We made the same proposal to Ebony [magazine] which is facing pressure now,” he said.  “I’m not sure why they’re saying no.”

(Photo: Reuters)

5 comments

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Mediatakeout = tacky.Vibe = tacky but interesting.notice the difference.

They did a smart move. Who would want to be associated with that trash (Mediatakeout)? If they accepted the money, they would have to expose that gossip site to thousands of people so that gossip can spread out even further.I’m glad that Vibe didn’t sellout.

Posted by Gloria | Report as abusive

3-5 Million viewers???Cor Blimey.MTO might be the worst celeb site on earth but you can’t argue with those numbers.

Vibe and Ebony suck, I love mediatakeout. They may have a lot of gossip but so do Enquirer and the like, just because this is a black online magazine doesn’t mean anything. They are on top of the news just like anyone else, and as a matter of fact sometimes they get it out quicker than the other sites like TMZ. Stop Hatin

Posted by Jason Whitmore | Report as abusive

Mediatakeout matches with Ebony like oil mixes with water. The audacity for a garbage company that for the most part breathes to highlight the worst pieces of (mostly untrue) news in black america to approach a legacy family owned business like ebony magazine who did so much to build up the community…its crazy. Vibe and Ebony are blue chip legends who just need the right people to help them monetize their names. MediaTakeOut regardless of their traffic is 100% garbage. They will never command blue chip advertisers. It’s not about quickness to report like too many bloggers attach themselves to the thought of — its also about journalistic integrity and existing for a reason. Get a grip MTO and stick in the dirt where you belong. Know your place. I love you for your place but its not in the leagues with Ebony/Vibe/etc. John Johnson would roll over in his grave if his publication took that route.

Posted by James Bivins | Report as abusive