I have been promoting press release distribution services from over 10 years and have an active and updated journalist and media database of half a million. Not sure, if I can sell it out; where to find buyers or should I create my own PR agency as Cision or Meltwater?
I can buy media contact lists from dozens of places. It has relatively low value. As you know, journalists don't pick up stories if they're not timely, relevant, credible, interesting, and offer something unique. What is of value is any of your direct relationships with specific media outlets. Blasting messages to half a million contacts is wasteful and inefficient, essentially SPAM, so not something as a marketing exec that I'd buy as a service or buy as a company, or even as a list.
A PR Agency is going to have deep relationships with specific media contacts. They will have earned a reputation as a reliable authority with the individuals on the short list.
I can spend $195 and release anything I want out on PR Newswire (now owned by Cision). Everyone important subscribes and self-updates, so having individual contacts isn't helpful if I'm in blast mode. It's a very inexpensive existing and reliable release service.
The value of an agency is specific not gross. Meltwater is not a PR agency, they're a data company. Cision is actually a media buying company, not a PR agency either. Your attempt to compare is confusing.
The question about becoming an agency is really about what niche you would fill. It doesn't sound like you're a PR agency either today. As you said you're a distribution service. What do you want to be? How do you deliver value? The value isn't in your list itself, the list is accessible in other reliable ways, such as if I was willing to plunk down $195. Everyone knows PR Newswire, and at least four other distribution services that own the majority of that market. But press release blasts have exceptionally low value as a method of communicating and have been "dead" for several years. Here's an article that highlights what most marketing execs know and believe about press releases.
It doesn't mean people don't still use the services. It's like having a listing in the phone book. You still do it, even though you know it won't drive business unless you are a pharmacy or towing company. You just don't spend a lot of money on it because you know the value is low.
So, if you want to make money, it won't be in selling your list. The new owner won't know how to keep it updated, and it will go stale quickly. And it won't be as a distribution service, because technology has made it too easy to buy distribution as a commodity. If you want to be an agency, you need to lean into your relationships as well as in knowing how to coach clients in managing a crisis, developing inbound content, and aiming clients for newsworthy activities.
It depends on the quality of the relationships. If they take your calls and are looking to you for ideas or sources on relevant subjects, then it has value. You could consider a service like HARO (www.HelpAReporter.com) that builds the value. Shankman built it from nothing for nothing and sold it in 2012 (?) for almost $5 mm. The value was his contacts and their contacts.
Interesting question; the answer may be easier to work on based on a) the financials (turnover, profit, etc); b) the number of subscribers; and c) the amount of duplication of your database with your competitors (eg Cision, etc).
Have you approached Cision or Meltwater yet to see if they might be interested in buying you?