JancisRobinson.com, the subscription website owned by leading wine critic and writer Jancis Robinson MW has been bought by private equity-backed digital media company Recurrent Ventures. The terms of the deal have so far not been disclosed.
Recurrent, with offices in Miami, New York and San Francisco, has a portfolio of 16 brands covering a wide range of specialist interest websites, mostly in lifestyle and tech, with a total monthly reach of 50M visitors.
JancisRobinson.com (JR.com) is Recurrent’s fourth acquisition in 2021. Domino, Mel Magazine and Futurism were bought earlier this year but, unlike JR.com, have an advertising rather than subscription-based revenue model. The company does own other subscription websites, with 600.000 members across the portfolio, accounting for 10% of its total revenue. ‘Subscription, in time, I think will be one of our largest revenue streams, even if we’re just beginning,’ Recurrent Ventures CEO Lance Johnson said.
Current membership numbers for JR.com have also not been disclosed, although Robinson confirmed these are based in more than 80 different countries and that she believes that ‘around 20%’ of her subscriber base is professional. Robinson hopes the acquisition will support the growth of a wider US audience (only 30% of the site’s audience and membership is based in the U.S.) and the development of a smoother, more rewarding experience for readers.
Johnson confirmed that technical and SEO improvements will play an important role in growing JR.com’s audience, as will a dynamic synergy with another key title owned by Recurrent, Saveur, both through article syndication and wine pairing recommendations for the thousands of recipes Saveur has on its site.
In a statement released today, Robinson said she has ‘no intention whatsoever of retiring’ and was happy to now be able to focus on what she enjoys the most – tasting and writing – and be relieved of all the administrative burden.
‘JancisRobinson.com has now reached a size that is really quite difficult for our small team to manage – especially from the tech and administrative point of view.’
JR.com’s team includes four full-timers (including Jancis Robinson MW herself) and 13 part-time freelance contributors, all of whom should not be affected by the changes. ‘The only difference to our superlative team is that it is likely to be expanded.’