Want to Know How to Better Partner With, Raise Money From or Be Acquired by a Big Media Company?

Posted on Aug 22, 2012 | 11 comments


This is one of the best episodes of This Week in VC for a long time. I had the chance to speak with Andrew Siegel who runs corp dev & strategy for Condé Nast (aka Advance Publications).

In case you don’t know, they are one of the biggest media companies in the world. They are best known for their magazine titles such as The New Yorker, Wired, Vanity Fair and Vogue.

But did you also know that they are a large cable operator? That they own a large piece of The Discovery Network? That they own Reddit? Who knew?

They are also very active as an early-stage tech investor, partner and acquirer. And they invest n select VC funds.

I asked Andrew how companies can best work with Condé Nast and he gave the answers in the episode.

He also covered how “traditional media companies” think about the future and how they view disruption.

You have the luxury of either watching the whole episode with Andrew Siegel (or listing on podcast at the gym! download from iTunes for free) or just skipping to the bits you like. Here’s the summary and on YouTube the links to skip right to these moments is below the actual video.

Key moments:

Whole Outline:
00:30 Welcome everyone, I’m here today with Andrew Siegel of Advance Publications.
1:15 Tell us a little about Advance Publications and your role there.
2:15 You’re one of the largest publication owners in the world, aren’t you?
3:00 You were running corporate development for Yahoo before this?
4:45 How do young entrepreneurs begin to work with a company like yours?
6:30 Do you disclose which funds you’ve invested in?
7:00 Thank you to Walker Corporate Law for sponsoring the show. Everyone follow @ScottEdWalker for some great insight into the legal process.
8:15 How do you feel about your properties? Do you feel protected from new media?
10:00 Is news being disaggregated?
11:00 Andrew on the importance of high-quality content.
14:30 Andrew tells about a time he heard a German tourist ID the Conde Nast building in NYC.
15:30 How do you view the transition of your magazines to the iPad, to e-readers?
17:15 Which other publishers “get it” the most?
21:00 How do you balance the people with more money than time–and with more time than money?
21:30 Why did Advance Publications buy Reddit?
24:15 Are there similarities between Twitter and Reddit?
25:00 How should entrepreneurs approach you for funding?
27:45 Thank you to Detroit Venture Partners for their support of the show! Check out detroitventurepartners.com.
30:30 Are you investing in email?
33:00 Discussion of Ian Roger’s Topspin Media.
36:00 Andrew: Display advertising has a real problem.
37:30 What are your thoughts on product placements?
30:00 Have you been following the Dalton Caldwell vs. Twitter story?
44:15 Consumers want to have an authentic dialogue with a brand.
45:15 What’s your process for investing in startups?
48:15 Is it fair to say that every company is different in terms of their M&A strategy?
50:30 Is Pinterest real? Are you seeing much real conversion from it?
52:00 Andrew, thank you so much for joining us today. And thank you to Detroit Venture Partners and to Walker Corporate Law.

  • http://byJess.net/ Jess Bachman

    Welcome back (to TWiVC) Mark!

  • http://hegranes.com/ jonathan hegranes

    Amazing interview… inspiring to hear such powerful, intelligent, humble words.

    Having a passion + work in this emerging space, I loved it — though I’ll need to listen to this interview a few times for it to sink in completely.

    Overall, I think Andrew’s perspective on content and advertising is spot on.

  • http://hegranes.com/ jonathan hegranes

    Ditto… In the end it’s all about the guest, but Mark does a great job!

    He truly speaks from both sides of the table.

  • mgwitham

    I vote this as my favorite episode you’ve done… The Zynga to Pinterest analogy is genius. This may be the fundamental trend for the consumer web.

  • Andrew Siegel

    Thanks Mark for inviting me on, and to all the commenters and sharers, thanks for the gift of your time and attention.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Thanks, Mibi ;-) ! Appreciate it.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Yes, I was incredibly impressed with his views & composure

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Thanks, Michael. That’s why I led with my opening line – I felt the same just participating in it

  • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

    It was a good interview. I just finished it during my car trip. More please!

  • http://influitive.com/ Abdallah Al-Hakim

    really good interview. I noted how many times the word ‘authenticity’ was mentioned which hints at the importance of this characteristic as you develop an advertisement and engagement strategy. Terrific job on covering a number of interesting topics!!

  • http://www.bluecoastrecords.com/ Cookie Marenco

    Wonderful interview. Insightful.