Plum launches magazine; Niche Media launches lawsuit

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenApril 2, 2011
Plum TV is expanding into print.

The owners of the tony cable network recently launched a new magazine, Plum Miami, and it has designs to roll out glossies in Aspen and the Hamptons by the end of the year, according to sources.

Plum's move into the publishing world, however, hasn't exactly been peachy.

Niche Media — the owners of Aspen Peak, Los Angeles Confidential, Gotham, Boston Common, Ocean Drive and other upscale magazines — filed a $20 million lawsuit in New York this week against its former ad director Eden Williams, who it claims is siphoning off its advertisers for Plum's foray into the magazine industry.

The suit seeks an injunction to stop Williams from allegedly recruiting Niche Media's advertisers to Plum's new magazine, arguing that when she left Niche Media and joined the Plum team in June 2010 she was not allowed to directly compete with Niche for at least one year, according to AdWeek.com.

“Under the terms of her contract, Williams would not be allowed to compete directly against her former employer for at least a year within a 150 mile radius of her former publications,” AdWeek reported on Friday. “She is also barred from using the contacts she gained at Niche for another publisher. If the judge agrees with Niche, Plum would also be barred from using Williams for ad sales.”

Thickening the plot is the footnote that Plum TV's new CEO, Jerry Powers, considers Niche Media's leader, Jason Binn, his protégé and that the two had a major falling out a few years ago. Powers and Binn launched the south Florida magazine, Ocean Drive, together in 1992. They remained business partners for more than a decade until Las Vegas-based Greenspun Media bought Powers' and Binn's holdings in 2007 and consolidated them under Niche.

Powers was subsequently forced out.

Powers became a co-chairman and partner of Plum last year. He rapidly ascended to the role of CEO.

Plum TV and Niche Media both promote the luxurious lifestyles of the uber rich. Plum TV has stations in Aspen, Vail, Telluride, Sun Valley, The Hamptons, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and Miami. Niche Media has magazines in Aspen, Boston, Washington D.C., Manhattan, The Hamptons, Michigan, Philadelphia and Las Vegas.


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