Oh, great, old-media people are supposed to fix digital media (again): Publisher’s Brief
Welcome to the latest edition of Ad Age Publisher’s Brief, our roundup of news from the world of content producers across digital and print. Got a tip? Send it our way. Joining us late? Here’s the previous edition.
So... who can fix publishing in the age of the Google-Facebook duopoly that’s been sucking up all the digital ad dollars? Let’s see now. If you’re Bryan Goldberg, CEO of the Bustle Digital Group, apparently you think inky veterans will be able to pull it off.
Twice in a row now, BDG has installed magazine-world execs to lead its digital properties. In March, Goldberg announced he was hiring Dan Peres, the former editor-in-chief of men’s magazine Details, which Condé Nast shut down in late 2015, to reboot Gawker, the remains of which BDG acquired at auction. (The date of the relaunch has yet to be announced.) And then this week Goldberg lured Elle Executive Editor Emma Rosenblum to lead his “lifestyle” brands, including flagship Bustle, Elite Daily and Romper, as group editor-in-chief.
Dan Peres, before Details, was at W magazine and the trade newspaper Women’s Wear Daily (W’s corporate sibling at the time), following stints at The New York Times and Esquire earlier in his career. I worked for Dan for roughly a decade—I was a contributing editor (a contract writer) for his Details—and I can tell you he wasn’t exactly ever regarded as, you know, a web-savvy guy by anyone at Condé. In fact, the Details website was such an afterthought that when the magazine shut down, Condé didn’t even really bother porting the content on Details.com over to the URL it was redirected to: GQ.com.
Meanwhile, Rosenblum is also a print person through and through, having worked at titles such as Bloomberg Businessweek, Glamour and New York Magazine before rising to the No. 2 job at Elle.
(Side note: a lot of digital-media natives—particularly a number of former Gawker writers—are no fans of Goldberg; see Gawker headlines such as “Who Gave This Asshole $6.5 Million to Launch a Bro-Tastic Lady Site?” back in the day.)
Hilariously, Goldberg told WWD this week that, “There’s no doubt, no question, that we view ourselves as the successor to Condé Nast and Hearst.”
Meanwhile, over at Condé Nast and Hearst, traditional-media people are a dispossessed lot.
Condé barely seems to want people to know that it’s still, primarily, a glossy media publisher. It’s been selling off print brands (W and Golf Digest, most recently), just brought in a new global CEO—former Pandora chief Roger Lynch—with no publishing background, and spent the recent Digital Content NewFronts hyping itself as “the new prime time” (i.e., it wants to be known for its digital video programming).
And at Hearst, digital people have been taking over as the bosses of brands such as Cosmopolitan under new Hearst Magazines chief Troy Young, who was previously the magazine division’s digital czar.
So here’s where we are in the media ecosystem right now: Traditional-media people are expected to fix digital-publishing companies—much like what happened in 2010 and 2011 when The Huffington Post poached a bunch of veteran journalists from the likes of The New York Times. (How’d that ultimately work out? Um.) And digital-media people are supposed to be fixing traditional-media companies.
Good luck, y’all! God bless us, everyone.
Talk about burying the lead. Three paragraphs into today’s press release from Meredith Corporation about how it’s undertaking a “reimagining of the Entertainment Weekly brand,” there’s this sentence:
The August issue will mark Entertainment Weekly’s first as a monthly and is timed to Comic Con, the largest celebration of the contribution of comics to art and culture.
And then at the very end of the release:
The last issue of Entertainment Weekly in its current print form will be the July 5 issue on sale June 25.
People Deputy Editor J.D. Heyman has been named the new editor-in-chief, replacing Henry Goldblatt. And for now, at least, Meredith intends to keep using the Entertainment Weekly brand name and the EW.com URL.
This is war: “Madonna Says That New York Times Profile Made Her ‘Feel Raped,’” per New York Magazine’s Vulture.
Zinio sells: “Fiji Water founder David Gilmour has sold Zinio, a pioneer in the sale of magazine subscriptions on digital platforms, to software company Naviga for an undisclosed price,” the New York Post’s Keith Kelly reports.
Now it’s Bernie’s turn to front Time magazine: