Mark Bellissimo and his family, of Wellington, Fla., purchased The Chronicle of the Horse and related media properties in a transaction that closed on July 12.
“I’m so proud to be part of the long tradition of the Chronicle which is a leader in its industry,” said Bellissimo. “I am committed to the organization’s core mission of being the most trusted resource for equestrian sport by offering independent journalism and the highest editorial integrity.”
In addition to the reputation of the print, Bellissimo was attracted to the statistics for chronofhorse.com, which is the top ranked equestrian news site and community in the world not focused on racing. In 2012, the site attracted more than 2.95 million unique visitors and presented over 70 million page views. For 2013, unique visits to the site are up over 52 percent from the same period last year.
Bellissimo, whose Wellington Equestrian Partners LLC owns and operates the world’s largest and longest running equestrian event, the Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.), as well as the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, purchased the world renowned magazine independently and plans to continue the editorial excellence associated with the 76-year-old publication. The company, which has been owned for the last 61 years by the Ohrstrom family of The Plains, Va., will continue to feature up-to-the-minute news and need-to-know stories across the various equestrian disciplines.
“Since the magazine industry has morphed into a multi-platform media industry it has become increasingly clear to us that a single title business has serious challenges,” said Clarke Ohrstrom. “Our family has cared about and supported the Chronicle for decades, but we felt that its best future might be with a larger group of titles or with an owner that could provide other content resources. When Mark approached us it was obvious that there would be a very good fit from the content and results end. In our first meeting Mark made it very clear that the editorial integrity of the Chronicle was his primary concern. From that point on we knew we had the perfect buyer, one with deep respect for the Chronicle’s history and who could help the Chronicle deliver more content to its loyal supporters.”
Over the next few months the Chronicle will be introducing new products and services, including an enhanced website and state of the art mobile applications.
Bellissimo added, “Together the magazine and the website are by far the strongest information distribution channels in the industry to communicate all things equestrian as well as the energy, thrill, and passion for horse sports.”
While the Chronicle will continue to be the news hub and community for the industry, Bellissimo believes it can also be instrumental in developing improved spectator interest in horse sports, developing the personalities of the athletes, highlighting the lifestyle, showcasing products and services, promoting training and education, enhancing animal welfare, and developing a network for philanthropy.
He is looking forward to enhancing the Chronicle’s position within the sport horse industry and navigating the unique opportunities of this business with his family, alongside the current staff, who will remain based at the historic roots of the institution in Virginia.
Read Associate Publisher/Executive Editor Beth Rasin's Commentary about the transition, New Owner, New Future, Same Product.