The Corner Office: Balancing Mediums to Serve the Audience
How are you investing in your digital products?
Cintorino: We're definitely an aggressive company that's on the offensive. We're doing more projects in parallel than I've experienced in my past in publishing. We, within the last year or so, implemented a new content management system. We're just going live with a new e-mail system. We're looking at our list brokerage business and consolidating that. We just changed magazine fulfillment vendors, and we're going to consolidate our paid content audiences with that and also move toward a global audience database. After the Nielsen Travel Group acquisition [Northstar bought Nielsen's Travel Group brands in March], we're relaunching all of those sites; not just moving them on to a common platform, but we're actually relaunching those brands.
How are you staffing for this?
Cintorino: I'm emphasizing front-end development and product management. In combination, I would call that product development; it's really tech management and Web development. And we're leveraging outsourced partners for that stuff that makes sense to outsource … whether it be a Flash development team or database hosting partners or other technology that could drive audience or our revenue.
The editorial function includes content strategy and content generation for all media formats. We don't have a specific hiring initiative for [editorial], but we ensure we maintain expertise on all media. Editors are learning digital means with which to create, acquire and publish content. We are, how- ever, investing in digital marketing, technology staff and Internet technologies, to support editorial and [product quality].
Where do you see the greatest opportunities for growth?
Cintorino: To me, it's in the combination of everything. We're certainly emphasizing events and paid content. But I don't want to say that's at the expense of our brand sites either, because I think they all serve a purpose in the greater picture. Some of our news sites are going to generate the audience on a very frequent basis. That gives better exposure to our paid content. We are building travel agent communities. … With that, as you gain audience, you're going to be able to engage them more in a community, and we're building the tools to make the community valuable, not just hang a shingle out there that says, "Hey, we have a community."