Wenner’s sales pitch to investors, according to the document, calls for cutting the editorial budget from a high of $8.1 million in 2015 to $4.2 million in 2020. With the reduction in the number of printed issues, production costs will drop to $7.3 million in 2020 from $18.1 million in 2015.
Gus Wenner says the pitch he is making to investors is that the future of Rolling Stone is online and in video and television. “We have an enormous amount of belief in our ability to create premium video content, TV shows, and documentaries to service a massive market,” he says. Right now, Rolling Stone’s video revenue is just $100,000, according to the document. By 2020 it’s projected to be $1 million. That’s healthy growth, but still a modest figure given Gus Wenner’s bullish talk.
I am not what you would call a “Certified Financial Analyst,” but something seems…off about Gus Wenner’s sales pitch for Rolling Stone, which consists of slashing fifteen million dollars and pivoting to a medium that you “believe” is “projected” to rake in a million dollars by the time we have to do the election all over again. And they suppose at the end of these calculations lies a thriving video-based brand called Rolling Stone. Where have we seen this “pivot to declining pageviews” before? Oh right, step 3 of Mic’s business plan.