Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Future of Digital Publishing (Part Two)

For this second and final post summarizing AMPA’s recent “Publishing in the Digital Age” luncheon, I wanted to focus a bit more on the insight that Evan Hansen provided about the success of the Wired brand.

Website Fully Independent From Magazine
From the outside it’s not always evident that the digital side of is fully editorially independent from the Wired magazine staff. The digital staff does not consult the magazine’s editorial team about their daily content (although they do interact and share information). The 43 full-time freelancers employed by publish up to 40 original articles daily; this means that the website has a pace and an attitude more like that of a daily newspaper (short articles, short deadlines) than that of their magazine counterpart.

Adapt the Brand for Different Digital Platforms
This is the key to the Wired brand’s success: their focus is on brand development, and adapting this brand to each unique communication channel and digital platform. “Each platform requires a very tailored approach. The medium is the message” says Hansen. For this meant investing heavily in original daily news-reporting, breaking news and investigative journalism. 

Revenues from Digital Side
It’s evident that this focus on the digital side of the brand is working: digital revenues from account for 40% of the Wired brand (including the magazine), representing a shift towards a “Digital 51” moment when 51% of the company’s revenues will be coming from the digital side. Wired magazine is incredibly successful as a print publication and with their new app, yet on the web the magazine’s digital edition accounts for less than 5% of web traffic. If the magazine was all Wired did, the brand would be a dismal failure. 

Don't Act Like a Magazine, Act Like a Website
It was Hansen’s last piece of advice that best summarized the theme of his overall presentation: “Recast your brand for the web. The web is the web. If you want to succeed, don't act like a magazine, act like a web site.”
---Rebecca Lesser
AMPA Communications & Programs Coordinator