Radio One Inc., one of the nations leading broadcasting companies targeting African Americans, has purchased a popular social networking company, Community Connect Inc. (CCI) for $38 million.
CCI is known for its social networking sites targeting ethnic Americans online such as BlackPlanet.comwhich ranks the fourth in Hitwises 2007 Top US Social Networking SitesMiGente.com and AsianAve.com.
In the 2007 fiscal year, Radio One posted $389 million in losses, which also resulted in the demise of local radio station V100 The Beat. The company now hopes to increase revenue by investing in online business venues, according to the Washington Business Journal.
Tom Newman, the president of Interactive One, the division of Radio One operating the online sites, is excited about the new acquisition. CCI management will continue its day-to-day operation of the site. We will work on a specific integration plan over the coming months. With (our) goal of super-serving the African American consumer and marketing community, we constantly evaluate ways to improve our properties, Newman says.
The founder, president and CEO of Community Connect Inc., Ben Sun will continue to run the company while reporting to Newman. Radio One reaches over 20 million people every week in radio, TV, print and online, giving us the opportunity to capitalize on cross-platform opportunities for our brands that will truly benefit our members and advertisers, Sun says.
Newman added, Radio Ones digital strategy is in line with the overall mission of the company which is to provide African Americans with authentic and meaningful access to information, entertainment and other members of this community.
According to industry analyst eMarketer estimates that $4.1 billion will be spent by investors on online social networking by 2011 . This year, it is predicted that nearly $25.9 billion will be spent on online advertising.
Celebrating the merger, Alfred C. Liggins, III, CEO and president of Radio One says, CCI is an innovator and pioneer in social networking. We believe that they are a great complement to our existing radio, TV and online properties.
In business for 45 years, Radio One now owns 53 radio stations in 16 major African-American markets throughout the nation, including cities like Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Detroit. The empire also owns Magazine One, Inc., which publishes Giant Magazine for African American consumers and it has interests in TV One, a satellite/cable network.
BlackPlanet.com is an online communication avenue for African Americans that allows users to stay connected to family, friends and create business relationships. It offers personal services, entertainment, information and community tools. The site is also a powerful political soapbox as well, as demonstrated by the current presidential election campaign. Analysts note that the candidates , especially Barrack Obama, have spent quite a bit of money promoting their bid for the post online, especially on BlackPlanet.com. The site has more than 16.5 million members and 80 million page views as of 2007.