Kara Swisher

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NAMG Confirms It Has Bought Scout From Fox Networks Group in Dude-Focused Content Roll-Up Bid

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The North American Membership Group has confirmed a previous report by Business Insider that it had bought sports site Scout.com from the Fox Networks Group.

The price of the deal was not disclosed, but sources said it was substantially lower than the $60 million that News Corp. paid for it in 2005. The combined entity — described as a “new digital media network focused primarily on male enthusiasts” — will be led by Jim Heckman and be called Scout Media.

The merged companies are owned by New York-based private equity fund Pilot Group, which is run by well-known media and Internet exec Bob Pittman. The new Scout will aim to take advantage of its numerous content offerings, including football, basketball, baseball and outdoor enthusiast sports such as hunting and fishing, to attract both an audience and advertisers via cable television shows and on the Web, with a heavy emphasis on video.

The business, which NAMG said has over $100 million in combined revenue already, will center on both subscription and advertising revenue, as well as commerce. Presumably, it will get further funding to find other related properties to add to its portfolio.

Heckman’s recent job was as head of global media strategy at Yahoo, where he arrived after the Silicon Valley Internet giant bought his ad network company, 5to1.com. Heckman also founded Rivals.com, which was also sold to Yahoo.

Pilot Group has a range of investments in sites like Thrillist, Next New Networks, Rapleaf and TrialPay. 

Heckman said in an interview that he was aiming to create a premium content company targeted at men. “We’ve learned the male demographic is not easy to reach in a way brands require. It’s not hard to find scale for men, but often the content is sketchy,” he said. “Our new network checks all the boxes: Scale, professionally produced, clean, safe and in categories brands love like sports and outdoors.”


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