PokerNew is Majority-Owned By The Stars Group, Confirms iBus Media
Suspicions that PokerNews had a bias towards PokerStars may not have been far off. The company behind the news site, iBus Media, confirmed today that it is majority-owned by PokerStars parent company, Stars Group.
Stars Group’s ownership of the site came out as iBus began to consider an acquisition strategy actively. PokerNews posted about its steady growth over the past few years, and iBus felt the message should be accompanied by full ownership disclosure.
According to Lee Davy writing for Calvin Ayre, journalists in the poker industry have been aware for some time now that PokerNews favored stories about PokerStars, its ambassadors, and the poker players sponsored by its brand.
Davy claims he was instructed to focus on PokerStars players and omit coverage of the competition. However, Davy writes that this bias may be changing. He notes that more recently sites including PokerNews have begun to place more emphasis on brand neutrality.
PokerNews was launched by Tony G in 2002. Over the next several years the site grew to encompass a number of regional poker sites. It was not until 2010 that Stars Group began buying the company. According to the post on PokerNews, Stars Group has held its distance from the direct operations of the news site, despite being its majority owner.
Stars Group attempted to support its separation by claiming that PokerStars only accounts for less than 5 percent of iBus affiliate revenue. As readers are aware, a news site’s affiliate ads and the content of its news stories are two very different things.