Danny Seo snaps up digital shelter site Rue, plans new quarterly mag
Rue, a cutting-edge digital design and shelter publisher, has been snapped up by Danny Seo Media Ventures — and there are plans to launch a new print magazine.
The previously undisclosed bet on print — which comes despite widespread carnage across the print publishing world — calls for a quarterly version of Rue to hit in early 2021 with distribution of around 350,000, said Danny Seo, founder and CEO of the eponymous media firm.
“I’ve been a fan of Rue for many years. I’ve always admired their carefully curated approach to interior design while being both relevant and approachable,” Seo told Media Ink.
“Consumers are shopping differently because of the pandemic,” he added. “Some companies are finding it hard to keep things in stock because people are renovating like crazy.”
Seo bought the title from Mandy Mortimer, who partnered up with the co-founders Crystal Palecek and Anne Sage shortly after their September 2010 debut issue. After a 2012 restructuring, Sage left and Palecek carried on until until 2019, when Martinez became the majority owner.
“To be honest, everything happened very quickly,” Martinez told Media Ink. “It was time for the next chapter and hearing Danny’s vision for the brand, I knew it was the right move for Rue.”
Terms of the deal, announced earlier this week, were not disclosed.
Unlike most media takeovers, Rue’s current editor-in-chief, Kelli Lamb, will stay on board with a promotion to editorial director.
Under Lamb and Martinez, RueMag.com was updated daily and has a thriving social media presence with 355,000 Instagram followers, 533,000 Facebook followers, 100,000 Twitter followers, and 264,000 Pinterest followers with 9.9 million monthly views.
“I think we’ve done a great job digitally, but there is still an untapped corner of the design and shelter world,” said Lamb, who is 33 years old — and right in the target audience age for the brand. “We want it to be beautiful, but obtainable and not out of reach for readers.”
Seo, who publishes the wellness title “Naturally Danny Seo,” had a three-year run with a Saturday morning show on NBC that ended last year. “It was averaging 1.5 million viewers which was great for its time slot and it was great for the magazine, but I just did not have the bandwidth to keep doing a weekly show.”
Nevertheless, newsstand sales are up and advertising revenue is up 33 percent since the spring — a healthy trend that Seo expects to latch onto with Rue.
“We’ll be pushing a lot of new ventures,” said Seo, whose flagship magazine “Naturally, Danny Seo” boasts a circulation of 350,000 and who also has published two cookbooks. Aside from plans for a new quarterly print title with Rue, he said, “We’ll be doing things like a decorating book and licensing deals.”
While he expects to provide expertise on expanding the brand, he says his role at Rue otherwise will be hands off.
“We’ve given Kelli the keys,” he said. “It’s no secret Kelli is the reason for Rue’s success and I’m happy to say she will stay on board as chief visionary and gatekeeper for the brand.”
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