P-MRC, the joint venture of publisher Penske Media and MRC, announced a major investment in South by Southwest, the venerable multimedia festival held annually in Austin, Texas. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal the deal amounts to a hefty 50% state in SXSW.
Penske Media Corporation and MRC own high-profile brands such as Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone, Variety, and Vibe, and plan to offer up their media expertise to the iconic event, which saw significant losses last year as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The deal also expands SXSW’s potential for new events and business models. “It has been an incredibly tough period for small businesses, SXSW included,” said CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson in a statement. “When Jay Penske approached us with an interest in becoming a partner, it was a true lifeline for us. Both of our companies share a passion for producing high quality content that helps shape modern culture, so this feels like a natural alliance. Now we are focused on the March 2022 event, and we’re honored to embark on a new chapter of SXSW with both his experience and the capabilities of P-MRC at our side.”
For his part, Jay Penske, chairman and chief executive officer of Penske Media, added, “We are grateful and proud to become enduring partners with SXSW, and collaborate with its exceptional team. Since 1987, SXSW has been the world’s premier festival centered at the convergence of tech, media, film, and music. Today SXSW continues to be one of the most recognized brands for empowering creative talent and bringing together the brightest creators of our time. As part of this significant investment, we plan to build upon SXSW’s incredible foundation while extending the platform further digitally and assisting Roland and his incredible team to bring their vision to even greater heights.”
According to a statement, SXSW’s management team and core business will “remain unchanged in keeping its focus on the March 2022 event in Austin, and with this partnership pursuing the exploration of new capabilities in providing quality programming to its diverse community of highly engaged creative professionals.”
Photo: Shelley Hiam