Publishing Pioneer Dead at 76
William Ziff, chairman and CEO of Ziff Communications Co. from 1953 to 1994, died on Sept. 9 from prostate cancer, according to the Bloomberg News.
Ziff assumed leadership of Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. after the death of his father, William B. Ziff, in 1953. He established PC Magazine and PC Week as the nation’s top-ranked computer publications and also launched ZDNet, the company’s online entity (now CNET Networks), before selling 95 percent of Ziff-Davis to Forstmann Little & Co. in 1994 for $1.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg News.
Seen as a visionary throughout the industry, Ziff also launched such popular titles as Car & Driver, Modern Bride, Yachting and Popular Photography. His leadership was also responsible for the launches of Computer Gaming World, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Expert Gamer and PC/Computing.
“Bill Ziff was the Zen master, the Niche master of all time and space when it comes to publishing formulas,” wrote industry consultant and Publishing Executive columnist Robert M. Sacks in his e-newsletter “BoSacks Speaks Out.” “He seemed prescient in his ability to identify and see the addicted brand-devoted hobbyist before anyone else and maximize that vision with fantastic ad revenues.”
He is survived by his wife, Tamsen Ann, their sons, Daniel, Dirk and Robert, who run the financial firm Ziff Brothers Investments, and four grandchildren.