What aspect of the business is your current priority?
There is so much going on in the publishing space that as a publisher we think it is very important that we stay focussed on the business, and that number one thing around that is our content. So we want to stay infinitely focussed on creating great content. The questions is how do we deliver it?
For us this year there are a couple of key initiatives going on, notwithstanding our constant testing and analysis of what the user experience is and improving on that. But video is a big play for us this year. We’re a partner with Facebook, we’re a partner with Google, we’re a partner with several other platforms where video is going to be key. And obviously when you talk about publishing you’re talking about what’s happening in mobile, you’re talking about global expansion which we’re experiencing right now, mobile is a key and video is a huge part of that.
Is there still a place for long form storytelling?
We think there is. So we do have properties like the International Business Times that are more 24/7 news organisations. We have other titles which are more niche, like iDigital Times which is the fifth largest gaming site in the world, Medical Daily, which is a health orientated site… but we think (and some of the data we’ve heard here shows) people are willing to consume great content on their phone even in long form. So depending on where you’re getting this information and getting this news, we know that folks will read it.
It still has to be great content. If the contents not great and Newsweek is famous for its content – I think that the team that we currently have puts together a fantastic magazine each week with very thoughtful and insightful content, about subjects all around the world (politics, government, conflicts, the environment) – that folks are willing to invest the time if its quality.
Has the tonality of the content had to change for newer delivery platforms?
I think for us part of our mission is delivering the news and information in a highly transparent and truthful way. It’s part of the core mission of the company when it was started 10 years ago by the founders, who felt that most of the financial publications and institutions around the world were serving that top one per cent of the one per cent.
They felt like the rest of the world and in individual countries, which was the premise of the International Business Times when it was launched – now we have 22 country versions and we’re expanding – was providing the information folks need to make decisions about their life and their finances and their businesses and what have you, and do it in a transparent, truthful, open way. So our tone of voice, and it carries through to what I think you read in Newsweek, is incredibly thoughtful, in-depth and transparent reporting on subjects that are very important to people.
Finally, IBT Media has grown substantially in recent years – how have you achieved this?
It started with the International Business Times – that was the launch publication. Guys in Manhattan 10 years ago, two of them, with laptops pressed a button and started the International Business Times. Now here we are 10 years later…over 300 employees around the world, offices in New York and London and bureaus all over the world and Newsweek is in 10 countries. So the big acquisition was obviously Newsweek, which we bought from IAC about two years ago and we’ve had steady growth since that acquisition.
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