Friday, March 1, 2013

The Curious Case of Leo Hindery

Until today, I had never heard the name Leo Hindery.  That's just another sign of my ignorance of the rarefied air where big-bucks donors to the Democrats and media moguls intersect.   A quick look shows he gave over $131,000 in the just completed election cycle.  It was spread among people like Princess Fauxcohontas, Elizabeth Warren, Kerstin Gillibrand, Debbie Stabenow and Robert Menendez (who very briefly was in the press for making the sign of the three pronged plow with under-aged foreign hookers) as well as giving money to the president's campaign.

It should go without saying that I will never begrudge a guy who has enough money to burn $131k giving it to whatever flavor whore he wishes.  It just seems out of place.  One of these things is not like the other.  Because Hindery is the managing partner of Intermedia Partners:
The New York-based media private equity fund owns Intermedia Outdoor Holdings, which publishes 17 hunting, fishing, and shooting magazines, including Guns & Ammo, Handguns, Gun Dog, Rifle Shooter and Shooting Times.  ( add in Shotgun News, Handguns, Petersen's Hunting and more - SiG - source here )

InterMedia Outdoor Holdings purchased the pro-gun hunting and fishing network the Sportsman Channel in 2007, and is now in the process of acquiring the Outdoor Channel, pending the federal government’s approval of last month’s merger between InterMedia Outdoors and Outdoor Channel Holdings.
Why would someone who supports a gun control candidate like Obama or Kirsten Gillibrand be involved with these gun magazines and shows that feature shooting, hunting and even self defense shows? The Sportsman Channel is referred to as being more political than the Outdoor Channel, although I don't know why.  It's true they run a couple of shows produced by the NRA, Guns and Gold, and NRANews Cam and Company, but two programs out of a week hardly qualifies as being political in my book.

CNN, and to a lesser extent, Buzzfeed, seem to take the stance of the left that Hindery is bad because he takes money from the evil NRA.  
Now maybe Hindery and Obama simply share common economic philosophies but differ on gun control. Or maybe Hindery is able to draw a bright line between business and personal politics. Or maybe Hindery didn't give much thought any of this before Newton, kind of like California Teachers' Retirement System with its indirect investment in Freedom Group. At the very least, the NRA and Hindery seem to make for some very strange bedfellows.
Buzzfeed quotes an Outdoor Channel "stockholder"
"This is an inherent conflict between his political and business relationships," said Andrew Franklin, a shareholder of the Outdoor Channel. Franklin is working with fellow shareholders to prevent the merger by pointing out Hindery's apparent conflict of interest.

Franklin said he and other Outdoor Channel shareholders are upset that they might be forced to take on Sportsman Channel stock, which he sees as contrary to Outdoor Channel's message and Hindery's own political leanings alike.
Things are not happy in Intermedia land as Hindrey spreads out.  According to an article in the Daily Caller, insiders are saying he's gutting the operations.  They talk of beautiful buildings filled with production facilities that have been gutted and reduced to “basic administrative types,” who “think every day they go into work is going to be their layoff day”.  They accuse him of buying up these operations so that he can kill them off, something I find harder to understand than him even being in this market space.
“Now that Hindery has the Outdoor Channel, he’s in a position to consolidate all of the major pro-Second Amendment media titles in this country, strip them down, and destroy them, like venture capitalists do sometimes,” the employee said.

Many Outdoor Channel producers are “scared shitless,” realizing that the careers they built are now in the hands of an Obama donor who is in the process of breaking apart pro-gun media companies.
(Leo Hindery)

The backdrop to this story may not be politics so much as the collapsing media picture in the US.  I've read that while the mass circulation magazines are in trouble, the more targeted ones, like Intermedia owns, are not as bad off.  They still may be under pressure.  In a landscape of hundreds of cable channels narrowcasting to relatively small audiences (compared to the old "Big Three" networks), maybe consolidation is needed. 

Interesting development on this story today, after these articles were posted, another "suitor", Kroenke Sports has offered a larger per share offer than Intermedia for the Outdoor Channel - $8.75 vs $8 per share.  As a publicly traded company, stockholders decide if they'll accept either merger. 

The idea that a guy like Hindrey, though he may be a Democratic contributor or a solid, true blue Democrat, would buy these companies to destroy them seems too much of a reach for me.  First off, he's not the CEO of Intermedia, and he's not the only guy there.  Are other people ok with throwing away their money for this cause?  I find it easier to believe he either has no problems with hunting and the shooting shows they produce, as long as profits keep rolling in, or that he has the cognitive dissonance to not like guns, but like the money the products bring in. 

The thing is that if there's really a market for these shows, and there sure seems to be, someone will bring them back and create a new channel for them.  I don't think the market can be suppressed by these guys.  With the increasing spread of online streaming video services, there is a place for them.


  1. I'm not naive enough put it past the left to do anything. Follow the money. Many times what seems to be the obvious answer, is the right answer no matter how little sense it makes to us logical folks.

    It's definitely something to watch to see if destroying the businesses actually is their strategy though.

  2. If history is any indication (and it usually is), despite being scared poopless at Hindery's potential for closing them down, it's doubtful people at these media outlets won't do anything until he actually does take that step.

    As you mention, despite being politically opposed to their content, they do generate dollars; I suspect that, initially, at least, dollars are more important to Hindery than political obeisance. The greater threat might be a gradual corruption of the content. If there is any involvement at all of anything Obama-related the safe bet is it's leftist and corrupt.

    Given the technological changes we've seen, and which the future portends, it would behoove those employed by and in nominal control of the affected media outlets to initiate the planning process for version 2.0. That might mean creating new, non-Hindery-related outlets (which will almost certainly be virtual outlets) from brain-mergers between personnel at outlets whose mission overlaps, repackaging content for greater compatibility with smart phones, different subscription rate structures, etc. I think it was von Moltke who said "no plan survives contact with the enemy," but am also reminded of Eisenhower's comment "Plans are nothing; planning is everything."

  3. "'s doubtful people at these media outlets won't do anything..." should read "'s doubtful people at these media outlets willdo anything..."

    I've sentenced the proofreading staph to a week in the dungeon on bread and water....

  4. It's never safe to turn your back on the leftists when they're doing anything. A simple counterargument to "why would they kill their own company?" is "what if Soros bought them all off?". It's hard for me to imagine the whole management of Intermedia is anti-gun; someone must be there from the group that started them up and is behind all those good outdoors magazines they print. Would they sell out?

    Would you?

    Could they be voted down or fired? Absolutely.

    A threat to hunting shows for us to watch out for is that various animal rights groups have tried to outlaw hunting shows, or at least make it illegal to show the shot that takes down an animal. They actually compared hunting videos to pornographic snuff films.

    1. Well, since I don't have cable or satellite, I don't get to see any of the hunting shows anyway. Which makes me wonder why so many of them haven't heard about the internet; it's been in all the papers, and who hasn't heard of Al Gore and his wonderful exploits by now?

      Very briefly talked with Michael Bane at the last SHOT in Orlando about it, specifically, subscription-driven internet video. The response was "Outdoor Channel is working on it." "Work" is apparently a four letter word at OC, because it doesn't seem to have accomplished much in the intervening 4 years. Bane has some snippets online but AFAIK none of the full length versions of any of his shows are available on the 'net.

      Perhaps if Soros & Co. did buy them out and shut them down it would, first, separate the wheat from the chaff and be an incentive for the survivors to learn about zeroes and ones, and the online subscription process.

    2. You can say that again! One of the reasons I still have cable is that Outdoor Channel isn't available on my Roku box.

      That plus the fact that Roku's (at least mine) have a God-awful user interface. To change channels on a cable box you punch in a number, or hit the up/down button. On Roku, it takes about 35 key presses.

  5. There's an interface that lets you change channels on a Roku? Huh. I thought you had to request a different channel by mail.