Emmis Corp. sells Indianapolis Monthly magazine

Emmis Corporation HQ
The headquarters of Emmis Corporation on Monument Circle. (IBJ photo/Dave Lindquist)

Emmis Corp. is exiting the magazine business, selling Indianapolis Monthly to the Michigan-based company that purchased four Emmis magazine properties in 2017.

Indianapolis Monthly, a publication launched in 1977 as Indianapolis Home & Garden magazine, was purchased Thursday by Hour Media Group LLC for an undisclosed price.

“Emmis is proud of its ownership with IM, and looks forward to its continued success under Hour,” said Indianapolis native Jeff Smulyan, who founded Emmis in 1980.

Hour Media bills itself as the largest publisher of city and regional magazines in the United States. Its portfolio includes Hour Detroit, Minnesota Monthly, Palm Beach Illustrated and Sacramento magazines.

Five years ago, Hour purchased Los Angeles, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Orange Coast magazines from Emmis for $6.5 million.

Formerly a media company that owned 20 radio stations, more than a dozen TV stations and a handful of magazines, Emmis now will focus on three assets:

  • Digonex, which specializes in dynamic pricing for clients that sell tickets online.
  • Lencore, which makes speaker systems to reduce noise distractions and improve acoustics in workplace settings.
  • Sound That Brands, which creates podcasts for companies.

Emmis continues to own two radio stations: an AM contemporary gospel station and an FM affiliate of ESPN, both in New York City.

In 2008, the company sold the last of its television stations.

Earlier this year, Emmis sold four Indianapolis radio stations and statewide news service Network Indiana to suburban Washington, D.C.-based Urban One for $25 million.

The $25 million radio-deal figure is identical to the 2016 sale price for Texas Monthly magazine, which Emmis sold to private equity firm Genesis Park LP.

Indianapolis Monthly was the first print publication owned by Emmis, which purchased the general interest magazine in 1988 from Knightstown-based company Mayhill Publications.

According to Indianapolis Monthly’s website, the magazine has 41,000 subscribers and a readership of more than 200,000 people.

The magazine won the 2014 general excellence award in its circulation category from the City and Regional Magazine Association.

Emmis is a public company on the over-the-counter market. In 2020, the company voluntarily delisted itself from the Nasdaq stock market.

In July, Emmis offered to buy up to 1 million shares of its Class A common stock from shareholders at a price no higher than $3.75 per share and no lower than $2.75 per share.

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8 thoughts on “Emmis Corp. sells Indianapolis Monthly magazine

  1. I hope that the Monthly continues or even improves its current quality. Kinda wish that the IBJ owners would have snapped it up since that seems like it would have guaranteed a continued future for it.

    1. Yes, that would have been an interesting combo, potentially positioning IBJ to compete with the ever shrinking Star as the city’s primary general media outlet.

    1. I’m guessing the 200k is how many unique users they get to their website each month where some content is available for free vs. the 41k who actively pay for a full subscription. Not a crazy ratio, tbh.

    2. Such readership to subscribers is not unusual, as that “pass-around” rate is boosted not only within households (I subscribe and both my wife and I read it cover-to-cover at home) but also by the magazine’s presence in office environments. For instance, at the offices of both my physician and my dentist as well as my barber shop the magazine is always present and read by others waiting for their appointment. Unique users viewing the online content would not typically be co-mingled with the audited subscriber data.

  2. Agreed, that it would have been awesome to see IBJ Media pick it up as the go-to for local business and news. Hope that it is being transitioned into good hands. I worked at Atlanta Monthly – a sister publication – back in the day and loved it. Great group of peeps.

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