Apr 9, 2024 - Business

Exclusive: Puck acquires Substack newsletter Artelligence


Photo: Puck

Puck has acquired Artelligence, a Substack newsletter about the global art market authored by veteran art director and journalist Marion Maneker, Puck editor-in-chief Jon Kelly tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's the first time Puck has acquired an existing newsletter instead of hiring an author to build a new one.

Zoom in: The newsletter — which boasts 32,000 free and paid subscribers, according to Substack — will be integrated and rebranded within Puck's portfolio, Kelly says. Puck plans to rename the newsletter "Wall Power."

  • Puck paid to acquire the email list from Substack, but it can't transport over the paid subscriber relationships.
  • The company will conduct a marketing campaign over the next month to convert Artelligence's paid Substack subscribers to Puck subscribers.
  • Both Kelly and Maneker have high confidence that they'll be able to convert Maneker's existing paid readers.

Zoom out: The deal serves as a test case for acquiring other newsletters in the future, Kelly says.

  • Maneker cites Puck's infrastructure and its ability to reach power brokers across other industries, like Wall Street, fashion and entertainment, as part of the reason he decided to move his newsletter over from Substack.
  • Maneker's newsletter is read by art professionals in auction houses, galleries, etc., but also increasingly by law firms, insurance companies and bankers that work close to the art market.

Between the lines: Puck's business model is built to incentivize subject matter experts by giving them a cut of revenue from the business they drive. Puck currently makes its money from subscriptions, advertising and events.

  • Since its launch in 2021, Puck has tried to differentiate itself by covering power brokers and their respective industries within Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Washington, D.C.

State of play: The Artelligence deal speaks to Puck's push to invest in news-adjacent verticals for high-net-worth individuals who are underserved amid the fallout of print trade publications.

  • That thesis has been validated by Puck's hiring of veteran fashion writer Lauren Sherman to author a newsletter around the business of fashion.
  • "The art market, while different from some of the other categories where we had established credibility, also had a lot of commonalities," Kelly says. "It consumed an entrenched class of professionals and had an endemic advertising market."
  • Puck's co-founder Liz Gough has already secured Christie's as a launch partner for the new art vertical.

By the numbers: Including Maneker, Puck now boasts 17 journalists and 12 newsletter products.

  • The company, which has raised a total of $17 million from private investors, has 45 employees total.
  • The firm has roughly 40,000 paid subscribers and earned more than $10 million in revenue in 2023, a source says, confirming figures reported earlier this year by the Wall Street Journal.
Go deeper