Atavist is unique in that only publishes a single story per month. But it’s always a long and interesting read and it’s beautifully designed. Evan and his team strongly feel that writing and designing on the web shouldn’t feel like a chore. “Our goal is to enable creative individuals and organizations to produce beautiful and shareable stories, attract new audiences, and build
At the Digital Innovator’s Summit (20-22 March, Berlin), Evan will explain how he built a thriving home for deeper stories, beautiful design, and innovative publications. Save hundreds of Euros on the final delegate rates for the Digital Innovators’ Summit by booking with our Early Bird offer – ending soon.
In this interview with Ulrike Langer, Evan talks about the
Evan Ratliff: Well, there are different ways to define "successful," in the context of
If you definite "successful" to mean financially successful, it's a trickier question to be sure! We've combined our editorial operation with a software platform so that we have a different revenue engine than just the stories themselves. We also do a lot of work with Hollywood to find film and television homes for the stories. It is a model that we've made work for five years, and the software and our audience are growing, but we're still working to find the best way to keep it sustainable into the future.
For us, it means applying some of the older principles of storytelling and journalism -- deep characters, a gripping plot, double checking all of the facts -- in the context of the digital world.
We've published 56 stories over five years. There is not a clear pattern to the ones that have been most successful, except that they have some kind of emotional or character hook that seems to draw readers in and cause them to not want to put the story down.
For us, it is essential, just as the design and style of a print magazine
Atavist platform is free to use at the most basic level, and a lot of writers and organizations use it for all kinds of storytelling for free. But we also have paid tiers, for creative professionals, for teams and classrooms, and for large enterprises. At those levels, users can work in teams, brand stories as their own, build full publications, and develop
Of course, any type of design can be turned into
We try to show the way with our own stories, and with examples of the best uses of the platform. But we also don't confine our users to any particular approach. The whole idea is that they can create beautiful designs to fit their stories, without having to do any coding, very simply with the tool.
I think it varies considerably, but the short (and maybe too obvious) answer is that for single-copy-sales of any kind of content, what you are selling needs to be compelling enough to be marketed entirely on its own. That's a difficult proposition. For subscriptions, you, of course, need to be producing enough content that it's worth readers putting money up for the right to access all of it. For The Atavist Magazine, subscriptions serve partly as a way for readers to just support what we're doing when they love it, whether or not they may read every story in a year.
There are so many things happening all over the place right now, even though the word "storytelling" has been a bit cheapened over the last few years. I look to documentary film for inspiration all the time -- something like The Jinx, on HBO, was an incredible story this year. And there are amazing new things happening in audio and podcasts right now, like Serial. I'm astounded by how inventive and compelling that work is.
For more on the Digital Innovators’ Summit:
• Preliminary programme
• Speakers confirmed to date (with more to be added soon)
• Get discounted tickets with our Early Bird rate – ending soon
The Atavist: Changing Digital Storytelling (Inc. Magazine)
More like this
David S. Johnson, SVP Corporate Development at Meredith Corporation, will join a panel discussion at the forthcoming 42nd FIPP World Media Congress on the topic of media ownership. Here, he sets out Meredith’s approach to a changing market, and the corporation’s plans around acquisition and ownership.16th Sep 2019 Features
In an increasingly tech-driven industry, the decision of whether to buy or build systems and platforms is complex. Christoph Schmitz, interim CTO at Norway’s Aller Media and who will speak on the tech landscape at the forthcoming FIPP World Media Congress, explains some of the complexities and challenges publishers face.16th Sep 2019 Features
Meredith’s Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief of Parents Magazine at Meredith Corporation in the US, explains how her team uses innovation to better engage with audiences through print products – and how a ‘digital mindset’ is improving the print magazine.16th Sep 2019 Features
Thinking about starting a podcast? Well, there are currently around 700,000 active podcasts and more than 29 million episodes for people to download. So the competition is pretty fierce. Yet don’t let the numbers put you off. As media companies have demonstrated time and time again there is a still a huge appetite among consumers and professionals for well produced imaginative podcasts delivered by engaging and articulate presenters.12th Sep 2019 Features
Having launched both Wallpaper* and Monocle, Tyler Brûlé is widely considered one of the most influential media innovators of his generation. Since its inception, the Monocle brand has grown into a unique global media entity that successfully combines print, web, retail and broadcast components.9th Sep 2019 Features
History tends to suggest that once the plug has been pulled on a print magazine brand, no matter how iconic its, it is the end of the road, or if they are lucky an afterlife as a digital or web version. Charlotte Ricca outlines the unlikely revival of The Face, and asks whether we might see other magazine brands return.9th Sep 2019 Features
Two recent surveys on how consumers respond to brands’ advertising in close proximity to extreme or dangerous content highlight the financial risk to those who ignore brand safety guidelines when it comes to advertising. It also discovered that consumers define brand safety more broadly than expected, including issues such as ad-related piracy, malware and even fake news.9th Sep 2019 Insight News
Join FIPP, Prisma, Paris Match and others, for free in Paris.11th Sep 2019 FIPP News
Visit our Youtube channelFIND OUT MORE
FIPP newsletters allow you to keep up with industry trends, research, training and events across the worldFIND OUT MORE
What’s happening now, what’s coming next