Infinity & Beyond: Magazines Expand Their Brands
It's not a one-size-fits all process, Huff says, and what works for one media company may not work for another. "You have to decide where the focus and value is and be very deliberate and true to who you are."
A key to success is keeping the editorial staff engaged in the project, Huff says, and not let advertisers drive the content decisions-even when it's creating a catalog of consumer goods. "In the same way we keep a Chinese wall between editorial and advertising, we want to maintain a divide here, so it's not as though an advertiser can buy some banners to be included in our catalog. The particular products we sell have to be meaningful and right," Huff says.
At every step of the way, Huff intends to keep the ultimate goal in sight. "In the end, we're not looking to be a billion-dollar shopping company-we want to be a billion-dollar media company, using our assets in clever and differentiating ways."
The Nation: Going Deep with Ebooks
Since its founding in 1855, The Nation has been known for quality writing and incisive commentary on current issues. That rich history was a treasure trove for brand extension, says Art Stupar, VP, Circulation. This year, The Nation launched two ebooks, State of the Union by Gore Vidal and Letters to The Nation by Molly Ivins, each drawing from the magazine's archive.
"It's really a natural outgrowth of our success with digital editions of the magazine," Stupar says. "For several years, it's been evident that our audience likes that format-30,000 of our 150,000 paid subscribers are getting the magazine online. So we decided to put together an ebook program to appeal to those readers."
First and foremost, Stupar said, was the decision not to approach other publishers and instead produce the ebooks in-house. "We did the whole thing ourselves from soup to nuts, using in-house talent for curation, edits, production, art and marketing." Keeping the process internal meant that the magazine's progressive political point of view would be front and center, and the tone and flavor of the books would align seamlessly with the magazine's content.