How Evolving Print-Media Brands Are Creating Value

Chris WrenDecember 3, 20183 min

The last decade has seen sharp declines in traditional print-based media including magazines and newspapers. Some, like Teen Vogue and Self have transitioned to digital-only editions. Other legacy titles are being transformed into networks, as with Glamour. And pillar publications like Vogue are playing with new approaches to maintain relevance in a world where celebrities can make their own image on social media.

These kinds of seismic shifts can create opportunities for brands.

Take the Glamour example. As legacy publishers like Conde Nast grow stronger as an all-up entertainment brand, new niche networks are being created that invite non-traditional brand partnerships. Speaking to Adweek, Pamela Drucker Mann, chief revenue and marketing officer of Conde Nast says, “We have a lot of strength in this category and we wanted a lot more muscle and investment behind it. We are using brands, we believe, [that] are really focused on women and … have an organic relationship with women already.”

And they’re not stopping with one channel. Back in May, Conde Nast announced their digital video distribution expansion and new programming slate for the 2018-2019 season, including channels for Wired, Bon Appetit and GQ. The new ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) channels will be available on AppleTV, Roku and Amazon Fire. With 60 new digital video pilots in production and new series for Snapchat, Conde Nast is serious about evolving the way attention is captured.

Pamela Drucker Mann continues, “While consumers have more screens and more content to choose from than ever before, advertisers face the challenge of less buyable options, Condé Nast has the engagement, brand safety and influence that make us the most impactful buyable solution in the industry. And our new OTT expansion is significant because it brings the quality of Condé Nast to next gen consumers on new platforms, and in new ways.”

Research they conducted with Tapestry proves her point. They found that consumers 18+ were:

  • 3x more likely to say Condé Nast brands “showcase the best brands for products I want to buy” vs. Facebook or Google
  • 3x more likely to “make me think more highly of brands when featured in stories” vs. Facebook or Google
  • 7 in 10 (69%) take a purchase-related action after seeing a product featured in a Condé Nast brand
  • 89% say Condé Nast gives them ideas to share with other people

With Facebook embroiled in yet another scandal, it’s easy to understand some of these findings. They support the rise of other advertising opportunities outside of the Facebook-Google ecosystem.

Surprisingly though, some print publications are enjoying success. JWT Intelligence highlights standout examples such as Cherry Bombe, a beautiful magazine about women and food, Gossamer which is a stylish magazine designed for “people who also smoke weed.” And a quarterly food magazine called Whetstone. Speaking to the New York Times, Stephen Satterfield who founded the magazine, points out, “The new democracy in media is that if you have a flagship product and grow a following around that, you’re able to leverage it into more ambitious, larger projects.”

Two Important Themes Emerge From This Evolution:

1. For advertisers, new and better opportunities to circumvent the Facebook-Google duopoly are starting to present themselves, often with a mix of established credibility (such as Conde Nast) or high levels of built in interest (as with niche publications). Because these new vehicles are still being defined, brands should not be shy in proposing additional ways to partner and sponsor, working outside of traditional advertising constructs to capture attention in truly creative ways.

2. For skeptics that declared print media brands dead or fading fast, here’s another reminder that offerings can be reimagined to mean just as much or more when they go where their customers are, not just where they want them to be.

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