Over the past 18 months, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. has made a number of acquisitions designed to expand its services well beyond ink and paper. The company has bundled four of these acquisitions—8touches, Helium, Journalism Online and Nimblefish Technologies—into a single unit: the CustomPoint Solutions Group.
The new group was formed last summer and is led by Group President Ann Marie Bushell. Two of its offerings, Journalism Online's Press+ and Helium's freelance content marketplace, have been attracting the interest of b-to-b media companies.
Donnelley acquired Journalism Online last year for $19.6 million from its founders—two of whom, Steven Brill and L. Gordon Crovitz, stayed on as co-CEOs of the unit—and potential additional earn-outs totaling $15.3 million. Press+, the key offering from Journalism Online, is a platform that enables online publishers to implement a metered model to charge for some content.
“Originally, newspapers were the target [for Press+], but now we've moved over to the magazine side,” Bushell said.
“Ever since we were acquired by R.R. Donnelley, it's really opened the door to a lot of new customers for us,” Crovitz said.
In addition to newspapers, Press+ now serves b-to-b and consumer magazines as well as pure-play online content companies. B-to-b users of the product include NewBay Media's TWICE, GlobalSecurity.org and Frockwriter, a fashion industry blog from Australia. Donnelley said it has about 280 current Press+ customers, with another 245 preparing to launch the platform on their sites.
Helium, which is designed to offer vetted freelance writers to help in content creation, has also been making some inroads among b-to-b publishers. —S.C.