Media Mogul Jason Binn is a Success Because of his Chutzpah
Like many great classics, Jason Binn’s media creations could be one for the ages. From his early college roots, he knew he liked media, and graduated with honors from Boston University’s College of Communications. A true entrepreneur, at the ripe age of 23, Binn moved from his home in Roslyn Harbour, New York to South Beach, Florida with only $5,000 to his name. Although Binn came from wealth, he went out and created a booming publishing empire on his own. He proudly proclaims that he hasn’t taken a dime from his parents since graduating college.
Rather, Binn’s success is a result of his chutzpah.
“There is something very endearing about him — the chutzpah and lack of pretense,” said New York Times columnist and author David Carr in 2007, in an issue that featured Binn on the cover.
Only chutzpah can transform someone into a ubiquitous media mogul who closed on the sale of Niche Media, which ultimately reached 750,000 people, and amassed a staff of more than 300 full-time employees, along with revenues exceeding $100 million. Binn is a man with chutzpah who takes his celebrated Canon Elph camera wherever he goes so to be sure he captures the right people at the right moment, who, in 1998, the New York observer called The Hamptons Menace. He has snapped the likes of the celebrities like Sylvester Stallone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lupita Nyong’o to name just a few, as well as Supreme Court justices such as the late Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. His photo collection includes the biggest names in entertainment, public leadership and the corporate world. If they raise eyebrows, Jason Binn raises his camera. He does not just do it for scrapbooking, but rather for posterity. Those pictures made his media empire what it is. It also tied him to the well-established media photography service Getty Images where he has his own landing page called “BinnShot.”
From the time of his bar mitzvah at Temple Judea in Manhasset, Jason Binn has demonstrated a certain kind of chutzpah early on. He learned marketing 101 and excelled at it. At 29, he secured a position at one of the top ten advertising agencies in the world, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B), by labeling an envelope “personal & confidential,” and spraying it with perfume to get his resume past secretaries and into the hands of the CEOs and decision makers. He was convinced there was no way anyone else would open their boss’ envelope that smelled of perfume.
After Binn’s first year of employment with DMB&B, he answered an ad that was posted in Women’s Wear Daily for a sales and marketing position at the Warren Group, owned by David Warren, whose son Michael Warren became Binn’s boss. After three years of Binn’s employment at $25,000 a year, Warren invested $50,000 in Binn as Binn moved to Miami Beach to launch the luxury lifestyle magazine, Ocean Drive, which he created in 1993.
The Warren Group earned over 12 times their money back in less than 10 years, and Michael remains close friends with Binn today.
In 1996, Binn took over Hamptons, which was then 80 pages thick; he made it 200 pages. Then he went on to become CEO of Niche Media. Under Binn’s leadership, and leading up to the actual sale of Niche Media, it grew to have successfully launched 10 major markets, publishing over 80 issues annually across the country. Binn’s more than two decades of experience were critical in enabling the company to weather the economic downturn so it could emerge in a strong position. In 2010, Binn sold the Niche and became Chief Advisor to Gilt Groupe (now GILT.)
More recently, in 2012, Jason founded DuJour, which he said at the time would be the first truly integrated print and digital quarterly magazine geared towards Millennials and Baby Boomers alike. Binn knew then that most new magazines could not successfully exceed a quarterly distribution, but DuJour did just that; he exceeded it with 12 issues. The launch issue brought in about $3 million, a record high for Binn with any of his previous titles throughout his 25 years in the industry; and DuJour has maintained its publishing rates. That has generated a profit just under $2 million, which is competitive with many of the other major media companies’ publications.
Through creating what has been referred to as the Conde Nast/Hearst of local media, Binn flipped the traditional marketing model on its head. Binn takes pride in the fact that DuJour’s mission and message related to its clientele and readers hasn’t changed since its launch five years ago. Binn has successfully won over the 1% of the 1%, both on and offline. This audience is genuinely engaged, with average open rates of 22%.
Over the course of his career, the high-end magazines and the advertising angle has made Jason not only a serial entrepreneur, but an expert marketer of luxury goods, and also a fixture on the cocktail party circuit.
Not unlike many media personalities of the early days, Like Samuel Goldwyn and Jack Warner, Binn’s Jewish roots have guided him to where he is now. With a more modern flair, he is somewhat like a media titan of today, such as Google’s Sergey Brin. Jason Binn uses his background, his passion for media and personalities, and the Internet’s power to drive sales, and has driven these toward success.
His Jewish roots largely drive the causes that he supports too. A staunch Israel advocate, he is a supporter of NORPAC, a bipartisan, multi-candidate political action committee working to strengthen the United States–Israel relationship. Keeping with his knack for bold faced names, he recently attended a NORPAC event with Senator Richard Burr at the home of Howard Jonas, IDT’s founder.
Another way that Binn supports Israel is through his media connections. In 2015, leaked emails revealed that a dinner occurred between Sony executives and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which they discussed possibly creating a new documentary about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. Binn, who was included in the email chain, offered to promote the film to the nine million members and the three million readers of DuJour.
Binn also harnesses his Jewish roots by supporting and raising awareness for other causes that he is passionate about, such as Anthony Shriver’s Best Buddies International, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. Binn also supports his father and ex-wife’s animal rescue league, the Animal Rescue and Sanctuary Charitable Foundation, benefiting animals that suffered from cruelty or neglect. Additionally, Binn is a Patron of God’s Love We Deliver.
Let’s not forget his BinnShot page on Getty Images. Jason receives no money for it. He established it not only to help his media empire along, but to donate all the proceeds to meaningful charities. That’s being a mensch too.
Binn is an active media mogul, but he has mandated for himself certain restrictions and curfews. He does not drink alcohol, he leaves the party early and is always spending time with his three children, Penny, Cece, and Oscar Binn.