Business Strategy



Sports Illustrated Sees Value In Mobile-Website Solution.
Posted: November 2, 2012

Sports Illustrated (SI) recently updated their mobile site, bringing an entirely different look and feel to mobile users; one that is consistent in content but different in presentation from their desktop PC experience. Although the mobile look and feel deviates from the SI desktop website, the content remains the same regardless of the platform. .

Matt Bean, managing editor of SI.com, states that the SI brand will “be represented across all platforms, but there are different use cases reflected in mobile that might not be the case for someone on a desktop computer. In subtle ways, we're looking to cater to that user." Bean’s users are mobile users, emphasizing the trend toward further adoption of mobile for print magazines. Furthermore, this is another example of a mainstream magazine responding to the digital demands of readers.

Bean reiterates that just about everything “available on the fixed site can now be viewed on a smartphone or tablet.” Underscoring the importance of engaging users on their chosen device, “[t]he Gameflash technology used to give real-time scoring updates is almost identical to the desktop version, but is now accessible in a way that uniquely complements the mobile experience. Similarly, reader comments are now integrated into the device platform, offering users a chance to reengage with a story more easily.”.

We believe the mobile efforts at SI demonstrate a practical understanding of their reader’s needs and desires. This is a savvy move that will pay off by utilizing both the PC and mobile distribution channels for their content. As consumers become more connected over time it’s important to address these two channels as different user experiences while using the same core content.

The Foliomag.com article, "Sports Illustrated Relaunches Mobile Site," written by Micheal Rondon on October 4, 2012.



How Lucky Magazine Will Grow Their Digital Audience.
Posted: July 25, 2012

Fashion magazine “Lucky” is innovating with ad space and content in one grand strategy. The idea, of course, is always to grow your traffic when operating a website.

Lucky has found a creative way of generating user content to increase traffic, while also allowing advertisers to target specific audiences.

The magazine is partnering with Appinions, a producer of applications that “can spot the most influential online fashionistas and gather their posts and comments on a dashboard that lets users click through to read the entire post and other data around it”. Lucky editors can then reach out to these fashion influencers to participate in another platform called Lucky Community that’s made by another tech company, Tidal.

The hope is that the process of allowing a reader to comment on a particular fashion piece, aggregating those comments to another platform, and then organizing those readers into content specific categories will result in a doubling of online viewers.

A bonus is what it can offer to advertisers. These content specific communities for Lucky means “[a]dvertisers will be able to target ads to separate communities, or across the entire Top Contributors site. ‘Advertisers seem very comfortable with user-generated content these days,’ Holley adds. ‘I remember a time when they weren’t, which thankfully is long gone.’"

While it remains to be seen how successful this creative online strategy will be (launch is set for mid-August), CPS believes that magazine publishers and editors should strongly consider generating a portion of their content in this way, while advertisers should push for online content-specific areas where they can target specific audiences. It appears to be a win-win for magazine professionals and advertisers, and we at CPS applaud the innovation of Lucky magazine.

The Foliomag.com article, "Lucky Leverages New Community to Grow Digital Audience," written by Lisa E. Phillips on July 19, 2012.



After Embracing Mobile, ‘The New Yorker’ Magazine Looks to the Web.
Posted: June 21, 2012

Mashable’s Associate business editor Lauren Indvik wondered why, over the last six-to-eight months, the New Yorker magazine decided to “make a big investment” in its website. Why would a magazine that successfully embraced the iPad in October 2010 (a mere six months after the iPad’s U.S. release) and was available on the Kindle Fire from day one devote more time and resources to its website? Since “The New Yorker has attracted a great deal of attention for the confidence with which it has approached mobile platforms,” Indvik asks Nicholas Thompson, editor of newyorker.com, why is the New Yorker going towards a web friendly magazine “and why now?” Thompson explains, "We want people to be able to read and subscribe [to] the New Yorker on every device we can” and “[t]here was a sense we hadn’t committed to the web as we had to the iPad, and we wanted to be as strong on the web as we are on other platforms.” Thompson tells Indvik that “from a business perspective, the website exists as a vehicle for advertising and subscription revenue.”

Streamlined navigation, addition of a politics section, a “healthcare hub”, and a blog for literary criticism as well as posting twelve to fifteen pieces of original content per day seem to be yielding results. May 2012 traffic, 5 million unique visitors, is “up about 50% from last year,” Thompson tells Indvik. But, as Thompson emphasizes, traffic isn’t everything: “Traffic is one measure [of success] and subscriptions are another measure, but the success of the website is really measured in the response of our core readers.” Indvik points out that Thompson believes success for the New Yorker magazine and website comes from each reader’s experience: ”Success is when someone says, ‘I just feel great about coming to the website, I’m going to find things I love,’ or, ‘I haven’t read the magazine before, that’s interesting, let me subscribe.’”

CPS's Analysis - We couldn’t agree more with the New Yorker moving toward a more web-friendly solution for their content, and having many different platforms for their content. Although many magazines are told that mobile is the future, not all magazines are mobile friendly and multiple platforms for content delivery is the real future. Just because mobile is the hot new thing right now does not mean that a mobile app is the only good platform for a digital version of a magazine. The New Yorker magazine “gets it” that if you want to attract more readers you must understand that today’s reader expects to access your content through avenues that suit their tastes. Mobile is just one avenue. The New Yorker magazine continues to invest in, improve, and expand their website and mobile applications, knowing that each platform will in turn bring more readers and subscribers, thus supplementing the magazine itself. Serving the reader’s needs through good content delivered on platforms that a diverse audience are comfortable using yields the best results. It’s the right approach, and it’s one that CPS thinks other magazines must embrace to survive well into the future.

The Mashable.com article, "Why ‘The New Yorker’ Is Now Embracing the Web," written by Lauren Indvik on June 10, 2012.



Content is No Longer King?
Posted: May 11, 2012

Driving a stake into the hearts of editors everywhere, media industry prognosticator, Ben Elowitz, is denouncing the long cherished belief that content is king…and says it really never was. Elowitz believes the Internet has pulled the curtain back on content to reveal that “Content has always been a means to an end. And the end has always been audience.” Because of the Internet, he states, content and distribution have parted ways and “Media has been slow to adjust to this new dynamic.” Additionally, media companies need to face the fact that “When it comes to the business of media, there’s no question: advertisers don’t pay to reach content. They pay to reach an audience.” All of which leads to the need for media to rearrange priorities: “Distribution decisions are just as important as content decisions in building and serving an audience, and yet they are being largely ignored.”

CPS's Analysis - While Ben Elowitz raises some valid points worthy of lengthy discussion, he has a fatal flaw in his premise. His two major points are that:

  1. The Internet has divided content from distribution and,
  2. Audience, not content, is the ultimate goal.

Elowitz’s flaw is that he separates content, distribution and audience without acknowledging the tremendous interrelationship between the three. None can function – nor succeed – without the other.

While “content is king” is admittedly only a catchy phrase to underscore importance, neither distribution nor audience should be crowned in its place. Yes, audience is critical to success, but how do you attract – and more importantly maintain – audience? Content, of course.

What do you distribute in distribution channels that will attract and maintain an audience? Content, once again.

But it’s true, as Elowitz says, that the Internet has muddied the content waters. Many internet users – who now have access to previously unheard of amounts of content – view much of that content as the same. And it is!

What is Elowitz’s solution?

Media companies must give as much, if not more attention and money to distribution decisions and to “audience development strategy.”

On the first point, he’s right.

On the second, he misses the boat: For centuries editors have been working on the critical “audience development strategy” – it’s called content.

Today, though, content providers need to realize that the successful answer to the current baffling marketplace is to provide unique content that will draw and keep a unique audience (people only interested in that particular content), and distribute that unique content through distribution channels that are most popular with that audience.

Proof of this is already out there. In the newspaper world, big city newspapers are struggling while community based newspapers (filled with local news not available on the Internet) are growing.

In the magazine world, niche publications such as regionals, food and health, are staying alive. And most who distribute their content through new distribution channels, such as tablets and mobile devices, are finding new revenue streams.

In the end, Elowitz is partially right when he says that advertisers only want audience. What they truly seek is unique audiences that fit the demographics of their products.

And how do you get such unique audiences? Unique content, of course, supplied through distribution channels that those particular audiences use.

The All Things D article, "Content is No Longer King," written by Ben Elowitz on May 7, 2012.



Publishers Lack Use of Social Media
Posted: November 20, 2011

CPS's Analysis - Folio Magazine's November issue reported that magazine publishers were taken to task over the lack of social media strategies at the MPA's 2011 American Magazine Conference in New York. An industry expert, Scott Galloway, was reported by Folio as stating: "The reason you're having trouble making money is because you're not relevant -- profits are an indicator of relevance." Galloway couldn't have said it better. Today's magazines, if they want to stay alive, need to embrace the full spectrum of digital platforms and products to maximize their reach and impact. If they do so, revenues will increase.

The Folio Magazine article "At AMC, Magazines Scolded on Social Media Efforts" written on November 15, 2011 by TJ Raphael.



The Challenges of "Print-to-Online, and Online-to-Print"
Posted:October, 28 2011

CPS's Analysis - Conde Nast has released a print version of their Style.com website. “We wanted to give the reader a sense of what it is like to go through the journey of the shows, from New York to London to Milan to Paris,” Dirk Standen, the editor of Style.com, told the New York Times. It will be interesting to see how this reverse move (online to print) goes. CPS believes that in today's world of ever-evolving information dissemination, it doesn't matter which way you go -- print-to-online, online-to-print -- you're faced with the same challenges regarding readership, content, presentatitation and advertising.

The New York Times article "Finally, the Web at Hand" written on October 26, 2011 by Eric Wilson.


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