CNN will reportedly buy Mashable for $200 million.
That’s the word around the Internet this morning and on the ground at the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin.
The way the story broke may be a signpost for the future of traditional media, and it’s something PR professionals should be paying attention to.
On Sunday, Reuters blogger Felix Salmon recorded a short video from SXSW, in which he said a “little bird” told him about the CNN, Mashable deal. The video is part of Reuters’ burgeoning TV project
The deal will be announced on Tuesday, Salmon said. Though he added the caveat: “Is this true? I don’t know, but it’s entirely plausible.”
That match ignited conversation on Twitter and at SXSW. This morning, The New York Times published a report
with three anonymous sources saying Mashable and CNN were in advanced talks. Neither side offered a comment on the record.
In an email to staff, Mashable
founder Pete Cashmore said it "isn't true"
that CNN will acquire the website this week, according to a tweet
reporter Brian Stelter. However, Stelter's tweet
notes that Cashmore didn't deny the Times
report about the two media
companies in talks.
Editors and writers at high-profile tech blogs such as Gizmodo, VentureBeat, TechCrunch, and others must be wondering how a traditional media outlet like Reuters scooped them on a rumor. Usually, tech blogs are the first to publish a rumor, which mainstream media then sets out to confirm. This time, it was mainstream media reporting on, and confirming, the rumor. Is the way forward for traditional media outlets? Will they begin reporting on the rumors they hear about your organization?
I don't know, but it's entirely plausible.
Whether the deal goes through, The Atlantic Wire’s Adam Clark Estes pointed out the PR value of the story
. “Salmon's trip to Texas is already paying for itself,” he writes. “So much free advertising for Reuters' new TV project!”
Here's the video from Salmon that started it all: