EXCLUSIVE: Former Hollywood Reporter Editorial Director Matthew Belloni has boarded a high-profile digital media startup as a founding partner.
Belloni, who started May 1, has joined the management team and will be leading Hollywood coverage and related business development for the new, as yet unnamed, subscription-based media platform to be launched this year by the startup company, which has raised $7 million in Series A financing from TPG and 40 North Media.
The new brand, whose editorial focus would span finance, politics, technology and entertainment, was co-founded by Jon Kelly, a veteran of The New York Times and creator of Vanity Fair’s “The Hive”; Joe Purzycki, a digital veteran of Vox Media and Luminary, who is CEO; Max Tcheyan, an early Athletic employee, who is chief strategy officer; and Conde Nast alum Liz Gough, who is COO. Jim Coulter, executive chairman of TPG, and David Winter, co-CEO of Standard Industries, 40 North Media’s parent company, sit on the board.
The company plans to staff up to about 20 high-level journalists in the fields it covers by year’s end who are expected to receive equity and a portion of the subscription revenue. According to the New York Times, the platform plans to charge $100 a year for a daily newsletter, a website and access to events. While Its business model is focused on subscription, the site is expected to also seek premium partnerships.
Belloni’s first offering is a pre-launch invitation-only email for Hollywood insiders.
“Just like Hollywood, media is undergoing a dramatic transformation for the digital future,” says Belloni. “It’s super-exciting to bring my years of experience to building an innovative new company while continuing to cover an industry I care about so passionately.”
Belloni spent 14 years as a writer and editor at The Hollywood Reporter. He joined in 2006 to launch entertainment law vertical Hollywood Reporter, Esq. In 2017, he ascended to the top position of Editorial Director, which he held until his May 2020 exit. A frequent entertainment pundit on TV and radio, Belloni has served as an instructor on entertainment journalism at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication. Before joining THR, Belloni was an entertainment lawyer at a litigation firm in Los Angeles.
“Matt is a unique and generational talent—the Mike Allen of Hollywood, universally respected by industry insiders and observers,” says Kelly. “We could not be more thrilled to partner with him to build this business at this crucial moment in the media industry.”