Channel One Ritts redux

Co-founder returns as prexy/CEO, also o'sees online arm

Years after leaving Channel One News to launch Gen Y Netcaster Digital Entertainment Network, Jim Ritts has returned to his roots at the youth news satcaster as prexy and CEO.

As part of the expected move (Daily Variety, Feb. 29), Ritts also assumes the newly created post of prexy of Primedia Broadband Video, a new online Netcasting arm Primedia hopes will distrib video content from its portfolio of properties.

Primedia holdings include Channel One, mags Seventeen, New York, Chicago, Horticulture, Modern Bride, American Baby and Fly Fisherman, as well as 16 other specialty satellite television and TV distribution services. Company also owns and operates more than 215 Web sites.

Ritts also will oversee Films for the Humanities & Sciences, which distributes more than 7,000 educational niche and how-to videos, many in which Primedia controls full digital and Internet rights.

Ritts’ move marks a return to his roots. He helped co-found Channel One News in 1989. Channel One reaches 40% of America’s secondary school students daily.

“One of the well-kept secrets of Primedia is that we have huge video content which has extraordinary applicability to the new broadband era,” said Tom Rogers, chairman and CEO of Primedia. “Jim’s charge is to turn this gold mine into brand new revenue streams on the Internet.”

Primedia has also tapped David G. Ferm as head of Primedia’s Business-to-Business Group, where he will work to expand Primedia’s business products, including Primedia-owned Intertec Publishing’s more than 100 business-to-business magazine and video titles and 30 trade shows and directories.

“Under Dave’s leadership, Business Week has had double-digit revenue growth each year for five years, while international operations have doubled in size,” Rogers said.

Primedia’s business-to-business Internet company, IndustryClick, recently tapped Tim Andrews, former CEO of the Dow Jones/Reuters Interactive business as prexy and CEO. He will report to Ferm.

Ferm was a publisher of Business Week from 1993 and was upped to prexy of the Business Week Group in 1999. He was also prexy of the Golf Co. and publisher of Golf Digest from 1992-1993.

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