SMG launches lifestyle, fashion affiliate

BEIJING — China’s Shanghai Media Group, the country’s second-largest broadcaster, this week launched a new lifestyle and fashion affiliate Enjoyoung Media, which could form part of the group’s aims to spin off some of its units and offer them for sale to private investors.

Shanghai Media Group is controlled by the Shanghai municipal government and had revenues of six billion yuan ($875 million) last year. It is second only to the mighty CCTV in China’s broadcasting arena.

Media is tightly controlled by the government in Beijing, but the central authorities have indicated in recent months that they are prepared to allow private investors take minority stakes in some areas of the media, such as publishing or print.

SMG prexy Li Ruigang said the group was now seeking to introduce private equity investors to some areas of activity and was considering taking some of its units public in the next three years, the Phoenix TV website reported.

The group needs to raise capital to buy newspapers and new media assets in other parts of China, a plan he hopes will help SMG expand beyond its focus on Shanghai. However, he said the group’s radio and TV business would still remain in state hands.

Li Ruigang said that the group’s advertising revenues rose 2% last month, after falling in the first quarter of the year, when revenues were down 10% on the previous year.

The group’s new Enjoyoung Media has a lifestyle fashion TV channel and a magazine devoted to celebrity news, similar in style to “OK,” as well as retail outlets, bookstores and a domestic lifestyle brand not dissimilar to Martha Stewart’s.

There have been reports that SMG’s Internet TV unit may carry out a first round of private equity financing in the near future. Li said that the unit would reach close to two million households this year.

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