Media Titles Group has sold its holding in Rugby News to Mark Calverley of Auckland in a move that sees the six directors, which comprised the largely Australian-based group, relinquishing their control of the publication.
In October 2012, Rugby News responded to dwindling sales of its print-based publications by ceasing printing and shifting the magazine to a free digital format.
Despite this shift to digital, Media Titles group retained contracts with NZ Cricket and NZ Netball, and continued to publish All Blacks programmes and the Small Blacks magazine.
In addition to these print publications, in 2013 Rugby News also published six special editions, namely Super Rugby (February), Home Test (May), Rugby Championship (July), ITM Cup (August), End of Year Tour (October) and Year in Review (December).
While the new deal definitely includes the online version of Rugby News, it is still unclear whether these print-based publications will also fall under the curatorship of Calverley.
StopPress contacted the new director, as well as previous directors Margaret Mitchell and John Blondin, but they are yet to respond to any questions.
Judging by the stagnation of the Rugby News website, which still features a Christmas message, it appears that the change of ownership has taken precedence over relaunching the site for 2014. Although the Christmas post claims that the website will return to action in January, there have still been no new posts this year.
The new director was also asked what current Rugby News subscribers could expect in 2014, but he expressed reluctance to respond on account of being new to the industry.
Prior to taking over the reins at Rugby News, Calverley worked as the director of elite sports performance at Westlake Boys’ High School from 2008 to 2012 and as the head of PE and director of rugby at Wanganui Collegiate School between 2003 and 2007.
Despite this lack of online publishing experience, Calverley’s Linkedin summary seems to indicate that he will be able to draw on his teaching background to push Rugby News forward.
“In terms of business I am using skills used in education – organisation, motivation, fun, creativity and self-reflection to drive my company. I am approaching ‘old dog’ status, but am still very happy to learn new skills and have been ‘addicted’ to developing my use, understanding and application of e-tools and technology in general,” he says on the profile.