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22-08-2018, 16:29   #1
 
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Changes to Boards.ie Ltd. company structure

We are announcing today some changes to the Boards.ie company structure that will be taking place over the coming weeks, in particular the integration of Boards.ie Ltd. (the company that owns and runs boards.ie) with Journal Media Ltd. (the company that owns and runs thejournal.ie).

Background

Since its launch over 20 years ago Boards has grown from a single Quake forum into one of Ireland’s largest and most popular websites. During its history it has undergone a number of changes in company structure and ownership, most recently separating its sales operation from daft.ie and adverts.ie in 2015. One of the reasons behind this move was because we believed that Boards could be more competitive and could win more advertising business if it operated independently. And indeed this was the case, in the three years up until the end of 2017 Boards grew its revenue by 37%, an important achievement given we plan for Boards to be around for many more years to come and in order to do that we need to make sure it is a financially sustainable business.

However, over the last 6 to 9 months we have seen some significant changes in the digital advertising market in Ireland which is where Boards generates the majority of its revenue. A trend has emerged where advertisers are increasingly choosing to advertise with a smaller number of larger publishers with large audience reach. What this means for Boards is that we are having to work harder and harder to generate the same amount of business as in previous years and it has become clear to us that if this trend continues we will struggle as an independent site. In our view the solution is to become part of a larger group which will allow us to continue to generate the revenue we will need to maintain, grow and develop the site.
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22-08-2018, 16:30   #2
 
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Journal Media

Over the last couple of months, we have been talking to potential partners that we could join with. We were looking for a partner who would:
understand and appreciate the unique place that Boards occupies within the Irish internet landscape
who would be committed to Boards continued growth and development
who would be complementary rather than competitive from a content perspective
who would offer strong synergies from a sales and revenue perspective
who would be of sufficient scale in the digital advertising market, thus ensuring Boards continued sustainability and potential for growth
who would respect the independence of Boards and our community
who would understand and embrace the ethos of the site

After talking with a number of potential partners, it became clear to us that by far the best fit was Journal Media and we were delighted that they felt the same way, seeing the clear synergies and benefits of the two companies coming together.

So what will change?

From a user’s perspective, nothing. Boards will continue to be run as Boards, what you see now is what you’ll see after the integration with Journal Media is completed. Same community, same mods, same rules, same site. There will be a change to the corporate and legal structure of the company that runs Boards but not to the site.

From a sales perspective, there will be some (positive!) changes. For example, when pitching to advertisers there will now be the potential to offer packages that include advertising opportunities across both boards.ie and thejournal.ie. We think this will be attractive to advertisers and help us win more business.

Will there be more ads on the site as a result of the integration?

No, there will be no additional ads. However, after the integration with Journal Media we will be able to more effectively sell the ads that we already have.
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22-08-2018, 16:31   #3
 
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What will happen during the integration?

As part of the integration, all of Boards.ie Ltd.’s assets and liabilities will be acquired by Journal Media Ltd. and all staff will move over to Journal Media Ltd. So the current Boards team will remain and will continue to work on their current projects. However, Boards.ie Ltd. as a company will be dissolved (i.e. cease to exist as a separate legal entity) leaving the site being owned by Journal Media Ltd.

It is very important to note that this will have no impact on the site itself, boards.ie will continue as is at present.

Does this mean that thejournal.ie will now be interfering in the site or dictating what can or can’t be talked about?

Absolutely not. Journal Media understands and values Boards and the community driven nature of the site.

thejournal.ie has a team of journalists and contributors to generate and publish its content. boards.ie has its user community to do the same. The two sites are very complementary in nature and each of us has our own areas of expertise. Just as boards.ie has no intention of telling thejournal.ie how to do their job, they have no intention of telling us or our community how to do ours!

Timelines

We expect the process to be completed in or around the end of September.
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22-08-2018, 16:31   #4
 
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Final thoughts

The overriding priority for us has been securing the long term future of Boards and it has become clear to us that it will be hard for us to do that as an independent company.

Journal Media offers an exciting opportunity for Boards to continue its journey for many more years to come. They understand Boards and respect and appreciate our community, they are excited about the opportunity this presents and they are of sufficient scale to effectively compete with any of the major publishing groups operating in Ireland. And this is important … with the growing dominance of search and social (companies like Google and Facebook) and their ability to capture more and more of the digital advertising spend smaller publishers and websites will struggle. If sites like Boards are to have a future we need to have a bigger presence in the marketplace and integrating with Journal Media gives us that presence.

So Boards is here to stay … the integration will just let us say that with increasing confidence as we look to the future.

Sean Coughlan,
CEO, Boards.ie
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22-08-2018, 16:41   #5
Cabaal
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I'm curious, will there be any integration for boards.ie accounts to comment on TheJournal.ie and the like?
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22-08-2018, 16:43   #6
sexmag
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So y'all sold out?

Is that the announcement that was supposed to be had instead of that after hours day crap by freshpopcorn?
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22-08-2018, 16:56   #7
 
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The same people own Distilled Media as Journal Media so it cant really be considered selling out.
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22-08-2018, 17:00   #8
Boards.ie: Mark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabaal View Post
I'm curious, will there be any integration for boards.ie accounts to comment on TheJournal.ie and the like?
That's an interesting suggestion, though I imagine some discussion and investigation will be required.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sexmag View Post
So y'all sold out?

Is that the announcement that was supposed to be had instead of that after hours day crap by freshpopcorn?
The After Hours announcement was an After Hours announcement and initiative. We'll make site announcements through official channels so that there can be no confusion or uncertainty.
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22-08-2018, 17:03   #9
marcbrophy
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I can't say that I'm happy about this.
I've a bad feeling about it.
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22-08-2018, 17:15   #10
sexmag
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Originally Posted by marcbrophy View Post
I can't say that I'm happy about this.
I've a bad feeling about it.
The only bad feeling I have is that the journal will own two types of media and have a bigger influence to push any agenda they may or may not have. I know they said they won't but just my gut being sceptical

I'm not saying they do but it makes me uneasy similar to Murdoch and O'Brien having influence over the media.
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22-08-2018, 17:21   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabaal View Post
I'm curious, will there be any integration for boards.ie accounts to comment on TheJournal.ie and the like?
No, at the moment, there are no plans. As per the announcement, both sites stay as is and any integration will be focused on the sales and allowing Boards to able to compete in a changing and much more competitive market, something, as I said, we will need to do to if we are to remain a sustainable business.
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22-08-2018, 17:25   #12
begbysback
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Where do I buy shares now?
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22-08-2018, 17:32   #13
 
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Originally Posted by sexmag View Post
So y'all sold out?
People can categorise this whatever way they want, that's absolutely their prerogative and I won't argue the toss with them.

But I will say that not doing something like puts at significant risk the future viability of the site. Its costs money to keep the lights on and the site up and running, that's just the reality of it. So we need to generate money somehow which for Boards is mainly the ad units on the page and sponsored content.

We could not 'sell out' and continue as we are but from everything we've seen recently it looks like that would mean less and less money coming in. And in that scenario it is hard to see how we could keep the site up and running in its current form.

My own view on this is that far from selling out; we're doing what we can to to not only keep Boards as it but to give it the potential to grow and develop in the future.

Last edited by Boards.ie: Sean; 22-08-2018 at 17:52.
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22-08-2018, 17:46   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sexmag View Post
The only bad feeling I have is that the journal will own two types of media and have a bigger influence to push any agenda they may or may not have. I know they said they won't but just my gut being sceptical

I'm not saying they do but it makes me uneasy similar to Murdoch and O'Brien having influence over the media.
I hear you but I think there is one fundamental difference between Boards and The Journal and the examples you give above, and it's this ..

Other media companies create and publish their own content which is subject to editorial oversight. Media owners may have the potential to influence editorial policy and therefore exert some degree of control over the content (although I must stress that in my view this is absolutely not the case for The Journal).

But in Boards, we (i.e. the company and its staff) don't generate our own content, the users of the site do. Therefore we have no control over the content that is created (other than removing abusive, spam, trolling content etc. that breaches the Terms of Use of the site) and neither will The Journal. It is up to Boards users to decide what they want to talk about and how they want to talk about it. I can't see how we or The Journal can, in any meaningful way, influence that.

And just in case anyone thinks that we may be able to influence things by promoting content we like and suppressing content we don't, the whole site is monitored and policed by our mods and admins, all of whom are volunteers selected from the Boards community and all of whom a) won't let us get away with trying to exert any undue influence on the site, and b) who are not shy about robustly challenging us back if they think we are in any way overstepping the mark
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22-08-2018, 17:54   #15
sexmag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boards.ie: Sean View Post
People can categorise this whatever way they want, that's absolutely their prerogative and I won't argue the toss with them.

But I will say that not doing something like puts at significant risk the future viability of the site. Its costs money to keep the lights on and the site up and running, that's just the reality of it. So we need to generate money somehow which for Boards is mainly the ad units on the page and sponsored content.

We could not 'sell out' and continue as we are but from everything we've seen recently it looks like that would mean less and less money coming in. And in that scenario it is hard to see how we could keep the site up and running in its current form.

My own view on this is that far from selling out we're doing what we can to to not only keep Boards as it but to give it the potential to grow and develop in the future.
I'm not being smart but there has been a general fall of usership since 2010

https://trends.google.com/trends/exp...IE&q=Boards.ie

Has there been nothing you guys could have done to increase figures over that time?

The AMA's have been great but I find it hard to believe you guys couldnt find ways to keep the sight increasing its viewing figures
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