Meena Harris’ media company buys satirical online magazine Reductress

Reductress, an online satirical magazine focused on women, has been acquired by Meena Harris’ media company for an estimated eight-figure sum.

Through her media company Phenomenal Media, Harris, the niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, acquired the site.

On Wednesday, the companies announced the deal.

No financial information was provided, but industry insiders told that Phenomenal Media most likely paid “in the low to mid-eight figure range as a combination of private equity and money” for the acquisition.

Reductress is a comedy podcast known for its feminist themes and sarcastic critique of sexist media that targets women. It was launched in 2013 by comedians Beth Newell and Sarah Pappalard.

Harris’ business began in 2017 as an apparel and product line, but has since shifted into the media and entertainment industries.

Phenomenal Media focuses on women and historically marginalized groups.

Broadway musical A Strange Loop - which Meena Harris' company co-produced - won the Tony Award for Best Musical this year

Reductress will help Phenomenal Media expand its presence in the entertainment industry, according to Harris, 37.

She says the publisher’s contacts in the comedy community will benefit Phenomenal.

The media analyst and attorney expressed optimism that Reductress’ expansion into non-digital media, such as TV shows, live events, podcasts and other venues, would facilitated by purchase.

According to Harris, “the goal is that we can unleash a lot more around the voice, audience, and comedy of Reductress, while continuing to build on what Reductress has already done with and under the Phenomenal brand.” Harris told AdWeek on Wednesday.

According to Eric Schiffer, president of Reputation Management Consultants and CEO of the Patriarch Organization, the expected eight-figure transaction will also help Harris expand Phenomenal’s audience.

Phenomenal Media also worked on a Diwali celebration with producer Mindy Kaling

According to him, “The arrangement gives Phenomenal and Meena the chance to nurture their devoted following, who look forward to more items in line with the brand’s ideals, and builds an even more energetic community.”

When Harris started selling t-shirts with political empowerment themes like “Sugar, Spice, and Repro Rights” in March 2017, she officially launched Phenomenal.

Harris had to increase operations as the clothing line immediately became popular.

She focused on her expertise in writing for young people and started a book club that became the exclusive partner of Project 1619 books.

By “placing the repercussions of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the heart of the national narrative,” Nikole Hannah-Jones, writer for The New York Times, says the 1619 Project seeks to recast American history.

Former Funny or Die TV executive producer Brad Jenkins and Harris teamed up to form Phenomenal Productions in December 2020.

She recruited Juliet Liu, a former NBCUniversal executive, in November last year to manage the production company’s entertainment and programming.

The production company, which is now engaged in 15 film, television and theater projects, has developed brand alliances that highlight women and underrepresented groups.

Previous collaborations with Phenomenal Media and Hill House include a clothing collection for Netflix’s Bridgerton and an activation event for Prime Video’s The Summer I Turned Pretty.

Additionally, the company collaborated with producer Mindy Kaling on a Diwali event.

Reductress, which was founded in 2013, made money primarily from digital advertising, according to co-founder Pappalardo, who uses the pronouns them/them, in an interview with AdWeek.

However, the publisher began to rely heavily on off-the-shelf products during the pandemic shutdowns, which officials say have boosted business significantly.

Over the past year, Reductress revenue has grown, with 60% coming from retail sales and educational satire writing workshops.

Vice President Harris is pictured with her niece, Meena Harris

According to Pappalardo, the company will have more than seven-figure revenue when combined with Phenomenal.

The founders of Reductress said, “There has always been a realization that there was a hard limit to what we could do as an independent business. We created Reductress nine years ago.

We were looking for a partner who shared our ideologies, so when Meena contacted us we knew it was a fantastic fit.

After the company is purchased by Phenomenal, Pappalardo and his crew will remain on board.

Co-founder Newell, who left Reductress in the fall of 2020, does not appear to be associated with the Harris transaction.

Cathy W. Howerton