Maintaining editorial excellence means believing in the appeal of print

The disrupted media landscape offers challenges but also endless opportunities for innovation. Editors Martha Nelson (Time Inc., USA) and Fiona McIntosh (Grazia International Network, UK) delivered the closing remarks today at the FIPP Congress about striking the right balance between maintaining editorial excellence and implementing creative strategies for audience engagement and growth.

“We continue to believe in the appeal of print,” said Nelson of Time Inc.’s 21 titles. But her mantra for expanding beyond the traditional model, she said, is to “mine your natural resources” and make the most of the opportunities you have in front of you.

She offered Sports Illustrated as an example of this resourcefulness with its development of a recently-launched Monday Morning Quarterback website built around popular sportswriter Peter King. Since its launch on 22 July, the Monday Morning Quarterback website has reached 23 million page views.

Time Inc. continues to expand its print footprint in five ways: creating new franchises, live events, building community and user engagement, launching video networks (“We have a new emphasis on video production this year,” said Nelson) and subscription innovation.

The events are created by the editors of each title (such as Essence’s annual Festival in New Orleans and the Fortune Most Important Women conference) and are exemplary of three important things, said Nelson: A unique consumer experience, rich advertiser integration, and strong brand promotion and great brand awareness

Time Inc.’s newest innovation is in subscription. “Traditionally our sub marketers would sell one product to one consumer once a year,” said Nelson. Multi-tier models launched by People magazine are aimed offering more brands and more depth to readers.

For Grazia International, the emphasis is on continually making sure to capitalise on the globalisation of content.

“It is now impossible to tell (where a woman is from) just by the way she dresses or even the way she thinks,” said McIntosh.

Grazia has seen success with its French edition’s fashion app, which included a clicking and buying feature via shopping affiliates.

“These are all just baby steps that we’re taking at the moment,” said McIntosh, adding that finding the right ecommerce model and the right partnerships for bigger margins will be key.

Both editors said their newest innovations have come from a combination of ideas from existing editorial teams and hiring in new thinkers for their creativity.

“It’s important to have the input and the ideas and the DNA, but ultimately to have more traction, you have to go to an expert in the field to get the job done,” said Nelson.

“I think we go more the homegrown route,” said McIntosh. “The ideas and everything came from inside.”

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