Denver Magazine folds, 5280 acquires its remains: Daniel Brogan on the deal
Say goodbye to Denver Magazine. The publication that convinced Fox31 anchors to turn into skankers on its cover a couple of years back is no more, with rival 5280 acquiring intellectual property like internet domain names and its Facebook page. Here's 5280 founder, editor and publisher Daniel Brogan on the deal.
Brogan admits that the competition between the rivals has been fierce since Denver Magazine's founding three years back. "They worked really hard, and they were really aggressive," he points out. "They focused on things like forming partnerships with different organizations around town, and it was a great way of getting a lot of attention focused on them. We definitely had to react to that, no question."
By agreement, Brogan and Denver Magazine's Michael Ledwitz won't discuss the dollars and cents of the transaction, or even the way it came about. The most Brogan will say is that the pact materialized "pretty quickly," and Ledwitz didn't come to him hat in hand.
Nonetheless, seventeen Denver Magazine employees have lost their jobs as a result of the publication's end, and the city has one less publication -- something Brogan regrets. "I think there should be more voices," he maintains. "But the fact of the matter is, there are still a lot of magazines in town: 303, Denver Living, Mile High Sports and many more. And that speaks to the fact that magazines are still doing really well, even in this economy."
Indeed, Brogan stresses that 5280 could have survived continuing competition from Denver Magazine. "In the three years they were in business, we grew our paid subscription base by 26 percent," he says.
He hopes that number will keep heading up as a result of the intellectual-property acquisitions. "The big thing was the federal trademark for Denver Magazine, as well as DenverMagazine.com and some related addresses, their Facebook page, their Twitter account, and their e-mail subscriber list."
Regarding the main site, Brogan notes that "soon, when you go to DenverMagazine.com, you'll be redirected to an intermediary page that will explain what happened. There'll be a frequently-asked-questions feature and a way to give feedback -- and when they close that, it'll redirect them to 5280.com." As for Denver Magazine's Facebook and Twitter pages, their friends and followers can't simply be migrated over to their 5280 equivalents -- but Brogan hopes to use them to encourage samplers and find out what it is readers liked about Denver Magazine, with an eye toward making 5280 more appealing to them.
He's also hoping to woo more national advertisers. "One of the things that helped Denver Magazine last so long was the name," he believes. "An agency might tell some junior planner to get a list of city magazines, and they'd look at San Francisco Magazine and Chicago magazine and New York magazine and naturally add Denver Magazine to the list. Now, simply by having that website, if somebody looks, they'll come to us."
All of these prospects persuaded Brogan to open his wallet. In his words, "We wouldn't have made the deal if we didn't think it would help us in the long run."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.