New Delhi: Spanish language television network, Univision Communications, Inc. (UCI), best known for its dramatic soap operas, on Wednesday announced that News Corp. senior vice-president, Raju Narisetti, and the founding editor of Mint will be the chief executive officer for Gizmodo Media Group (GMG), earlier known as Gawker Media.
Last month, the company which also owns a 40% stake in satirical news site The Onion, entered into an agreement to acquire digital media assets as part of the bankruptcy proceedings of Gawker Media Group for $135 million.
Gizmodo Media Group is part of the Fusion Media Group (FMG), the division of UCI that serves the young, diverse audiences.
As chief executive officer (CEO), Narisetti will be responsible for managing all business and editorial operations of the newly named Gizmodo Media Group, which houses Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker and Kotaku. He takes over the role of founder and former CEO, Nick Denton.
Gawker Media was an online media company and blog network founded and owned by Denton in 2012.
In 2016, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a direct result of the monetary judgement against the company related to the Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit.
Narisetti, who will be based at the company headquarters in New York, will report to Isaac Lee, chief news, digital and entertainment officer of UCI, and Felipe Holguin, president and chief operating officer of FMG.
Heather Detrick, president of GMG, John Cook, executive editor, and Courtenay O’Connor, GMG deputy general counsel, will all report directly to Narisetti. He will formally join the Gizmodo Media Group in late October.
“It is a privilege to be responsible for leading this unwaveringly energetic team of journalists and business staff,” said Narisetti in a statement.
“As part of Univision, we will now be more ambitious in deepening, broadening and sensibly scaling the passionate digital communities that Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, Kotaku, Jalopnik and Lifehacker have attracted, by offering accurate, responsible, edgy and engaging journalism, as well as through relevant, related content and commerce.”
On Narisetti’s appointment, Lee of UCI said, “Raju is a rare combination, someone who comes with a very strong background in journalism, became a leader in digital media on three continents, and went on to develop new businesses for a global company,” said Lee. “His commitment to journalistic integrity, his entrepreneurial spirit and proven ability to adapt quickly in a fast-paced digital environment will help us strengthen and grow these newly acquired category-leading brands.”
Narisetti will also play an important role on Fusion Media Group’s leadership team. “As we look to deepen the engagement of America’s increasingly diverse television, digital, mobile and social audiences with our portfolio of brands that speak to their interests in a passionate, authentic manner,” added Holguin.
FMG now reaches more than a third of all Americans online each month with 96 million unique visitors, including its extended network.
FMG’s collection of digital-first brands serve young, diverse influencers with content that reflects their shared values and passions. In addition to the Gizmodo Media Group, FMG includes FUSION, The Root, Flama, Univision Digital, Univision Music, as well as Univision’s interest in El Rey Network, The Onion, The A.V. Club and ClickHole. FMG also includes Story House, a content development and production unit.
Narisetti is currently senior vice-president, strategy, of News Corp., the media and publishing arm owned by Rupert Murdoch.
Since 2013, he has been responsible for acquisitions and global expansion, while also helping guide and influence the digital growth of News Corp.’s existing companies in the news, information, publishing, social video and digital real-estate portfolio, which include The Wall Street Journal; The Times, London; Harper-Collins; Realtor.com and Storyful, among others.
In India, News Corp. acquired media and publishing firm VCCircle Network in 2015 and financial advisory firm BigDecisions in 2014, under Narisetti’s leadership. It also has invested over $30 million for a 25% stake in real estate website PropTiger.
Prior to News Corp, Narisetti was managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network.
Earlier, Narisetti served as managing editor of The Washington Post (2009-2012). Narisetti spearheaded the Post’s efforts to combine its separate print and digital newsrooms into an integrated operation.
Narisetti has a MA in Journalism from Indiana University, Bloomington; and a BA (Economics) and MBA from India.