Last month Summit Business Media tapped David MacDonald to steer its digital strategy, bringing the former OfficeArrow and KnowledgeStorm executive onboard as the company works to strengthen its digital footprint in the insurance, financial, legal and investment advisory industries.
MacDonald will serve as CTO at Summit, a company that emerged from bankruptcy in May. He will focus on identifying new revenue opportunities and building a flexible delivery platform that can be used across all the company's digital properties.
“I want to make sure that as the business evolves, we're not constrained from a platform standpoint,” MacDonald said. “What I've done before is create models where it doesn't matter what you're selling or how you're selling. It lets you buy access control, buy paid content or subscription. It basically leaves flexibility as your biggest advantage. That's what I want to do. We want to make sure we can offer content in the way consumers want to access it.”
Summit has been investing in a digital strategy that shifts the company's online assets from magazine-specific sites to vertically integrated portals developed on an open-source platform. Portals such as propertycasualty360.com have showcased new content strategies that have helped draw more traffic and more page views than their predecessors. Summit will launch at least one more portal this year, MacDonald said.
“A lot of [my work will be] taking what is in place to the next level and adding some additional monetization opportunities,” he said. He will be looking at new ways to segment and bundle content, work with advertisers and both create and also strategically market paid-content opportunities to Summit's audience.
MacDonald has not ruled out partitioning portions of the Web properties for paid subscribers. “It's premature to look at, but it's certainly an opportunity,” he said.
He also will be working to further Summit's social media strategy. The framework for the existing portals accommodates social media opportunities, he said. “The question is: How is it being leveraged?”
He will explore other areas as he gets settled. MacDonald started work this week and is meeting with the business development team.
“There are a lot of pent-up requests,” he said. “The key is to provide a platform that supports as many things in as flexible a way as possible, a platform that can be used across the properties in whatever way we want to sell it. That's the idea, that's what I'm here for.”