Condé Nast scoops up Ars Technica for Wired
According to TechCrunch, Ars will be placed under the Wired Digital umbrella under CondéNet, which was made whole with the 2006 acquisition of Wired.com, and may be combined with Wired and Wired.com. The sale will be announced some time in the next week, Mashable has confirmed.
Ars looks to be a good fit for Wired and Wired.com, especially given the similar styles of tech reporting available on on both networks. Both include traditional professional feature style reporting on technology and trends. Wired will benefit from the addition of the new writing staff and Ars will gain a new outlet from its reporting. We wouldn't be surprised to see their work appearing in other publications across the Condé Nast house. The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and even GQ (all Condé Nast publications) could stand to benefit from Gear and Gadgets and some of the other ongoing reporting from Ars Technica.
But, what will happen to the majority of the web only content on Wired.com? Since Wired.com seems to feature reposts of articles from the magazine starting a few days after publication and a number of blogs on technology related subjects, we have to wonder if some of the content that duplicates the work of Ars will just disappear or move to Ars completely. The other side of the coin is whether Ars will find itself slowly transitioning into just another department at Wired and whether this was just a way to bring a number of good writers into a major mainstream media outlet in one swoop.
Of course all of this may be moot (and is definitely pure speculation), since many think nothing will change at Ars Technica because Condé Nast hasn't changed any of its other recent acquisitions.
On a side note, this merger/acquisition is very similar to CBS/CNET (which went down earlier this week). CBS is an old school mainstream media house that was looking to expand into the net in an educated way by taking over another network. That network was basically CBS for the web, i.e. one of the original major outlets to helped get real content into a new form of communication. Of course CNET was started as almost a TV network, so they will fit well together. Here we also have two similar media outlets, one a major magazine network with award winning reporting, the other a major web site with magazine style reporting that is only a level of understanding away from winning a Pulitzer (understanding on the part of the Pulitzer committee). Heck you could even compare this to the AOL/Weblogs, Inc acquisition of 2005 (DownloadSquad is part of Weblogs, Inc of AOL). In all three cases you had a larger party who definitely needed the content of the smaller party and a smaller party who would definitely benefit from the resources of the larger party.