How Australia’s Pacific Magazines is making a digital transformation

 “The transformation process at Pacific is about positioning our business for the future,” explained CEO Peter Zavecz. “The acceptance of continuous change as an ongoing business ethos is the cornerstone of our transformation – not only evolving our traditional structures and operations, but developing new revenue streams and platforms that take Pacific ahead of the curve.”

Peter Zavecz ()

Above: Peter Zavecz

Digital expansion is important to Pacific, whose portfolio of titles reaches approximately 35 per cent of all Australians aged 14+ on a monthly basis. Innovation is critical to this transformation, according to Zavecz.

“We are rethinking and redefining all parts of our operations, teams and targets to build a better, stronger business,” he said. “This includes investing in our digital platforms, strategy and talent, actively seeking to embrace new ideas at all levels of the business – and of course keep an eye on both the successes (and challenges) of our peers.”

It helps to watch where other media companies are experimenting, Zavecz said, adding that there was a limit to observation and most of the company’s learning comes through doing.

“Our strategy has to be set according to our own business needs and goals. To test whether a particular idea is relevant for your business can only really be understood by jumping in,” he said.

Pacific appointed a new commercial director, Prue Cox (pictured below), to help drive the business’s transformation in July. Cox’s focus is on platform-agnostic, audience-led solutions, and “helping clients exploit innovative new opportunities,” she said. The aim is to drive audience from inspiration to transaction, while delivering ROI for Pacific’s clients, she explained.

Prue Cox ()

“We no longer see ourselves as a media partner,” she said. “Our sales team are focused on strategic marketing partnerships.”

The latest example of Pacific’s digital strategy is Foodiful, which launched in partnership with Woolworth’s, Australia’s leading supermarket retailer. Launched in late July, offers audiences an immersive, mobile, food-related experience. The long term plan for Foodiful, according to Cox, is to be number one in the market.

“Our two recent digital launches – Foodiful and Beauty Crew –  used insight and data from our existing brands to develop audience-led strategies,” Cox said. “We then developed these new digital brands from the ground up, identifying both a strong consumer audience need and strong commercial potential.”

Foodiful “closes the gap between inspiration and transaction,” according to Darren Kerry, head of digital and innovation.  It brings all of the food content from Seven West Media’s portfolio of brands into a single destination, and combines that with online shopping experience and e-commerce.

Foodiful Content Director Alix Clark (pictured below) says Foodiful’s relevant and well-curated content is designed to help users find recipes, shop for ingredients and bring all of it home for dinner. The content includes approximately 4,000 recipes, and in addition, they also have videos on the site, “which have proved incredibly popular,” Clark said. They also include regular posts from bloggers, who write in their own voices.

Peter Zavecz ()

“We want them to be useful, and accessible, not overwhelming, Clark explained. “For us, food is all about getting friends and family around the table to enjoy a meal and conversation and our editorial content and tone reflects that.”

What sets Foodiful apart from other digital food properties is its fully-integrated shopping tool, Clark said. Every recipe is shoppable, straight from the screen. Shopping lists can be sent to smart phones so users can shop in store, or they can shop online, and have everything delivered, Clark explained.

“It’s still early days yet, but we have plenty more planned including Facebook Live, greater personalisation and invite-only groups for our ‘power users,’” she said.

Foodiful is “another example of our ability to innovate,” Zavecs told Mediaweek. This is just one of the innovations Pacific Magazines has planned and Zavecs confirmed there will be more, as part of an overall strategy and provide the company with a strong presence on a global digital stage.

Pacific Magazines is a member of FIPP

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