Gannett has announced that it is partnering with Generation Partners, a private equity firm with experience in growth-oriented investments, to fund the continued growth and expansion of the Captivate Network, which will be spun out into a separate company co-owned by Gannett and Generation. Founded in 1997, Captivate operates an IP-enabled digital place-based media network with over 10,000 screens across more than 1,000 commercial office buildings in the U.S. and Canada.
This partnership will provide Captivate with capital and strategic focus to drive growth in the coming years. As Gannett expands and invests in higher growth core and new businesses, this move will further focus investment on its media and marketing services transformation strategy. Additionally, Gannett will continue to participate in the future value creation at Captivate and will benefit from the ongoing distribution of its content for Captivate's displays.
"Captivate is one of the most established brands in the digital place-based industry, with the largest network in North America to reach a desirable consumer demographic in a captive office environment," said Andrew Hertzmark, managing partner of Generation Partners. "The company has strong, long-term relationships with both advertisers and property owners and our goal through this partnership is to continue to build on Captivate's 16-year history of providing a valuable experience for viewers, building owners and advertising customers."
Captivate also announced that Marc Kidd has been named Chief Executive Officer. Kidd is a seasoned marketing, media and entertainment executive who has been on the forefront developing communications platforms to connect branded content with clients wanting to engage their consumers. Having started his career at Host Communications in the early 1980s, Kidd pioneered the corporate sponsorship business for college and high school sports. In 2004, Kidd joined Winnercomm, which was the leading provider of third-party produced content to ESPN. Marc was named COO of Winnercomm in 2006 and became its President in 2007. Outdoor Channel Holdings acquired Winnercomm in 2009, at which point Kidd became President, Media Sales of Outdoor Channel Holdings. Outdoor Channel saw record sales growth under Kidd's leadership.
"It is an honor to be given the opportunity to lead Captivate," said Kidd. "Captivate is positioned to take advantage of the growing industry trend of reaching audiences on the go, on the path to purchase. With over 10,000 screens reaching 5.6 million upscale professionals each month in both the U.S. and Canada, Captivate delivers value to advertisers seeking to target an affluent, but difficult-to-reach, audience. I am thrilled to partner with Generation, Gannett, and the entire Captivate management team and look forward to building on Captivate's success."
In addition, Mark Shapiro has been named Captivate's Chairman and is an investor alongside Generation. Shapiro has extensive experience and contacts in the advertising, television, sports and entertainment industries and also has a strong track record in the digital place-based media industry. Shapiro was most recently the CEO of Dick Clark Productions ("DCP"), an entertainment and production company that produced the Golden Globes, the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards and many other hit shows. DCP was sold in 2012 for over $370 million, more than double the acquisition price just four years earlier. Prior to Dick Clark Productions, Shapiro was the CEO of Six Flags after a highly successful career at ESPN, where he was the Executive Vice President of Programming and Production responsible for the development, acquisition and scheduling of all programming. While at ESPN, Mark garnered 16 Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards. Mark currently serves as a director of Equity Residential, Frontier Communications Corporation, Papa John's International and Live Nation Entertainment, Inc.
"The idea of contributing to a company at the epicenter of content, technology, eyeballs and advertising is extremely appealing and exciting," said Shapiro. "Partnering on this opportunity with Generation and Marc Kidd, both of whom I have known for nearly a decade, combined with the strength and track record of Gannett, provides Captivate with outstanding strategic, financial and execution resources."
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