REFLECTIONS ON Refinery29

When InPublishing commissioned me to write an article on Refinery29 (UK), I have to admit I was curious. Could this American platform make the leap from stateside to a global brand?

Turns out it could.

Three years on from its 2015 UK launch Refinery29 has achieved a strong grip on the market and built a solid reputation for relevant, engaging editorial. Overall, in terms of brand reach, it has grown exponentially and now has a global audience of 550 million and more than 450 employees across its American, UK and European platforms.

But like any global brand, there has to be a sufficient differential across the platforms to capture those cultural, economic and social demographics unique to each country. This requires in-depth research, innovation plus attention to detail – get it wrong and the brand will be unlikely to survive. Continue reading

Coming to a Small Screen Near You…

Look around you, right now. You may be sat at your desk, slouched on the couch, or en-route to somewhere special but the chances are you’re probably ‘consuming content’ on your smart phone, tablet or some such device. And those around you are probably at it as well. On my own daily grind I very rarely see anyone struggling with a broadsheet or flicking through a red-top any longer as the only papers commuters appear to read are Metro in the morning and The Standard in the evening. The common denominator is they’re both free.

infographic

So, it’ll come as no great Usain Bolt outta the blue, that newspaper circulation is plummeting. I’m sure we’re all aware of the sad demise of The Independent earlier this year and even Dear Rupert’s managing to only flog just over a million and a half daily copies of the builders’ favourite, The Sun, from a 2010 figure of double this. The Torygraph a similar 500k from almost 700k, and The Grauniad an astronomically worrying 166,500. Astronomically worrying as I’ve always taken The Guardian. And Private Eye. Obviously. Continue reading

What can we learn from 2015 and how will those lessons shape 2016?

Lessons for 2016Having read lots of articles/posts last month summing up 2015 I have identified the following four key trends that publishers should explore.

  • Go local: Global is going local – and it’s a thriving market. Supermarkets realized a few years ago that people like to interact with their community, whether they are in London or a small village in the Peak District.
    As a result more are seeking out locally-sourced food and going to those small independent shops in their towns. But how does this relate to publishing?
    Well it’s about numbers and the fact that audiences are beginning to realize the value of a good, local magazine.
    So instead of developing more lifestyle or specialist titles (has anyone counted the number of cycling mags recently?) perhaps publishers should focus more on communities and explore how they can invest in local initiatives.
    I have recently been fortunate to work with a client who has successfully launched a local magazine. Not a basic free-sheet advertorial vehicle, but a carefully crafted publication with great content and solid advertising figures to support it.
    What makes it work is that the publisher focuses on the community by putting it first before profit – and that gives the magazine heart.
    So what can you do differently this year that will give your product a soul?

Continue reading