Acquired from BBC Worldwide in 2011, Forrest said the brand had a “strong print circulation,” but a mediocre digital offering. “We couldn’t shift past two million unique users per month,” he said. “But we didn’t see it as managing decline.”
Fast-forward to 2015, and the brand has a “healthy business” with a stabilised print circulation (which Forrest attributes to “loyal readers”) and has doubled its cover price without harming the volume.
“Our digital proposition is delivering news and content to a younger audience – it’s a transactional data business driving deep engagement,” he said.
Creating new platforms
Forrest spoke of Immediate’s bespoke “modular publishing tool” which is used by individual vertical teams delivering content to specific markets, with horizontal teams constantly building a suite of tools.
“Mobile drives engagement and diversifies revenues. We have iOS and Android apps, as well as Discover TV which has 140,000 downloads. We were late to party, but we’ve delivered a best of breed product. We are running at speed to beat Google’s 21 April deadline for responsive sites and removing the barriers for people using mobile.”
Editorial teams have become tactically social
Forrest said that the brand has a good following on Facebook, but said “it’s not enough to rely on your own followers – you have to engage with fan groups on Facebook. We have teams going out into the social ecosystem to engage with fan groups.”
Using data to unlock revenue
“We use data partners to give us a single customer view on everyone who interacts with the brand, and we use insight and targeting tools to interact with that behaviour. A like on Facebook is nowhere near as valuable as a subscriber, but we use that engagement to drive further communication – it’s very effective.”
“Data is at at the heart of our strategy – driving content and monetising audiences. On numbers, we’ve gone from revenues of £55m to £70m revenue since the acquisition in 2011.”