Immediate Media CEO on “inspiring consumers” at Digital Innovators’ Summit

Tom Bureau, CEO, Immediate Media, UK, explained the company’s transformation from a “print focused business to a content and services platform,” today at FIPP’s Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin.

“We all need to get better at developing for new platforms and devices,” he said. “We are a platform company as well as a content company. There is no doubt that we need to find a new model – print is (from newsstand perspective) in decline. In the UK, it’s declining by eight to 10 per cent. We’ve gone beyond the peak of print and we have to find a new model.”

Immediate has built its business model by using new cash flows to invest in technology, said Bureau, and suggested that there are plenty of reasons for them to be optimistic: “Our magazine brands have real brand equity, deep engagement with consumers and are trusted. We believe that new audiences will be attracted to the brand quality we’re now creating in digital framework.” According to Bureau, the company’s heritage is incredibly valuable, and allows them to create “deep engagement” with their audiences.

Over the last 18 months, with Bureau leading the change, Immediate has developed its products and technology capability, and has done this mostly by employing new people with pure-play digital backgrounds. “We’re no longer a magazine company with a digital bit on the side,” said Bureau. “We’re a content and brand company and our key platforms are digital. We’re building a lot of stuff in house – it’s a low-cost, high-innovation environment,” he added.

Bureau insisted that the business has already innovated where advertising is concerned, and said that they are now selling audiences, not devices. As the number two publisher in the UK for digital editions, Immediate created its own platform last year to publish these on.

Citing more new revenue streams, Bureau talked of Immediate now behaving more like a retailer. “We’ve had to bring in the skillsets that online retailers are so good at. Our vision is now turning into reality; we need to think about how we can continually up-sell and cross-sell once we have consumers in a transactional relationship. We’ll continue to develop and think like a retailer,” he said.

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