A former editor at Vanity Fair has been working for more than a year to create a digital publication with a business twist: Its writers will share in subscription revenue.
Think of it as Vanity Fair meets Substack, the subscription newsletter platform that has attracted big-name authors.
The new company behind the publication, Heat Media, hopes to unveil it in the coming months, four people with knowledge of the matter said. The start-up is partly the brainchild of Jon Kelly, a former editor at Vanity Fair who worked under its previous editor in chief, Graydon Carter.
If all goes to plan, the start-up’s contributors would include writers whose contacts include the power elite of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Washington and Wall Street. An annual subscription would cost $100 and could include a daily newsletter, a website and access to events, the people said. The publication does not yet have a name. One under consideration is Puck, the name of an American humor magazine of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
invest in the “geek culture” website Fandom, which recently acquired gaming website Focus Multimedia. Last year, a TPG affiliate acquired the soccer site Goal.com, and the firm recently announced plans to acquire a stake in DirectTV.
The cash from the two firms would give the start-up some security at a time when some of the biggest players in digital publishing, such as BuzzFeed, Vice, Vox Media and Group Nine, have stumbled as the pandemic ravaged the ad industry.
Mr. Kelly’s business partners are Joe Purzycki, a founder of the podcasting company Luminary Media, and Max Tcheyan, who helped build the sports site The Athletic, the people said.
Two people who have seen a pitch deck on the company’s plans said that its potential competitors are the Washington news site Axios, the tech news site The Information and Vanity Fair.