LMiV today announced that effective September 30, 2002 it would cease to exist as an independent operating company. The functions and activities that had been managed by LMiV during the past two years will once again be performed by the individual founder companies and their stations.
LMiV was created two years ago as an industry solution to the Internet by five media industry leaders – Bonneville International Corporation, Corus Entertainment (NYSE: CJR), Emmis Communications (NASDAQ: EMMS), Entercom Communications (NYSE: ETM), and Jefferson-Pilot Communications (NYSE: JP).
“The two things that were of critical importance to the mission of LMiV – the production of standard-setting websites for radio stations and the creation of a revolutionary model for cooperative initiatives among media companies – will continue,” said Jack Swarbrick, LMiV President and CEO. “They just will no longer be done by LMiV.”
In explaining why this decision was made at this time, Swarbrick cited the difficulties LMiV faced in attracting additional radio stations to the LMiV network. “Unfortunately, the fundamental change in the economic viability of streaming and the recession in the broadcast advertising market have conspired to cause many radio stations to reduce the resources they are allocating to their interactive efforts.” Swarbrick added, “As we continued to encounter prospective customers who loved our product but couldn’t find the funds in the 2003 budget to become an affiliate, we knew that it was time to shut down LMiV.”
“We remain enormously proud of the advances we made in terms of providing syndicated content to our sites and building the tools that allowed station personnel to manage that content,” added Swarbrick. “But at the end of the day, we did not believe that those activities alone justified the continued existence of a separate company.”
LMiV is working closely with each of the companies and their affiliate stations to ensure a smooth transition of all LMiV-powered radio station websites. No interruption in the operation of those sites is anticipated.
“The saying is true that timing is everything and the timing for LMiV just wasn’t good given the economic challenges,” said Bruce Reese, President of Bonneville International Corporation and the Vice-Chairman of LMiV. “The founding partners and LMiV worked very hard to make it work. It’s a credit to the team at LMiV that we went as far as we did. We learned a lot about the Internet space and how to use it and use it well.”
While LMiV itself will cease to exist, much of what it achieved will continue to benefit its partners and the entire media industry. “This was an ambitious project that taught us a lot about the power of collaboration and the possibilities of the Internet,” said Jeff Smulyan, the Emmis Communications Chairman and CEO who also served as Chairman of LMiV. “As a result of the tremendous online content and creative solutions generated by LMiV and our own people, Emmis Interactive enjoyed remarkable product success and revenue growth. We look forward to continuing to leverage the success for Emmis, our LMiV partners and others throughout the industry.”