Inside, Brill dissolve ops

Topper to ankle, staff pinkslipped

Inside.com and Brill’s Content have folded.

Primedia and Steve Brill, who partnered to buy Inside.com last April, have dissolved their partnership.

That means Inside.com will no longer serve as a source of original news. It will continue to exist only as a portal for Primedia’s Media Central outlets, including Inside Publishing News, Cable News and Folio.

Brill, who is CEO of Brill Media Holdings and Media Central, will ankle in three months to pursue other opportunities.

The majority of the Inside and Brill’s Content staff will be laid off today.

The Webzine and magazine sought to defy a flagging magazine and dot-com economy by sharing resources across the Web and print publications.

“The business plan was predicated on using Inside to help Media Central, and vice versa,” Brill told Daily Variety. “Once you lose that, they can’t stand alone, and everybody knows that.

“If I’d been able to establish Brill’s Content as a vibrant and independent magazine, we wouldn’t have had to depend on a partnership with anybody, and I wasn’t able to do that.”

Thirty-eight staff members will be pink-slipped. That includes publishing reporter P.J. Mark, media reporter Seth Mnookin and film reporters Andrew Hindes and David Robb.

Staffers who also worked for Media Central Properties, including publishing reporter Sarah Nelson and cable reporter Scott Collins, are expected to remain with Primedia.

Brill said he may pursue other media interests or return to writing full-time when his tenure at Media Central ends.

The dissolution of the two news outlets marks the last chapter in Steve Brill’s three-year odyssey as self-appointed media watchdog.

Inside.com founders Kurt Andersen, Michael Hirschorn and Deanna Brown unveiled their Web site with a blast of self-confidence.

They raised an estimated $30 million from investors like Jim Cramer, Flat Iron Partners and Lehman Bros.

Brown said the Webzine would find 30,000 paid subscribers — both media professionals and “fascinated outsiders.” Andersen compared print magazines to the Titanic and said raising money in the dot-com economy “was as easy as getting laid in 1969.”

The final blow to Brill’s Content and Inside have been rumored for weeks as tension mounted between Brill and Primedia head Tom Rogers over the foundering publications.

But Brill told Daily Variety he didn’t blame Primedia for the termination of the business.

“We put out a quality magazine and we did it with integrity and we didn’t succeed,” he said.

(Charles Lyons in New York contributed to this report)

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