Say Media Is Selling Off Its Content Sites, Including ReadWrite and xoJane

Say Media owns sites like xoJane, ReadWrite, and Fashionista — but the company doesn’t plan to own them for much longer.

[Update: Fashionista is actually owned by Breaking Media. Sorry — I was confused by the fact that it’s listed in Say’s portfolio of “digital magazines,” but that list also includes sites that the company is partnered with but doesn’t own.]

CEO Matt Sanchez told Digiday that the company will be selling off all of its owned properties so that it can focus on selling ads for other publishers, and on its content management system Tempest. The vision, he said, was to build “the modern media company by building, partnering with and buying independent media companies,” but ultimately that turned out to be “very difficult.”

Michelle Panzer, the company’s vice president of brand development and global marketing, confirmed the news to me via email:

We are migrating brands onto Tempest at a very steady clip – excited about focusing on a platform that can support the kind of publishing we all respect. Looking for the right buyer(s) for our portfolio brands and dedicating ourselves thoroughly to building out our engineering and design capabilities and growing that Tempest community.

Say Media started out as video ad company VideoEgg before acquiring blogging platform Six Apart and taking on its current name in 2010. A year later it acquired the property that may be best known to TechCrunch readers, ReadWriteWeb (since rebranded as ReadWrite), for what we reported was a $5 million price. (A couple of the best TechCrunch writers used to write for ReadWriteWeb, and my old boss Owen Thomas took over as editor last year.)

This seems like a bit of an about-face from what Sanchez told me in April 2013, when he said the company laid off 10 percent of its staff in order to focus on the content business. On the other hand, Say isn’t the only digital media company to make big bets on web content and then decide there was more money to be made elsewhere.

Say already sold off its properties Dogster and Catster to I-5 Publishing earlier this year.