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Beyond Publishing: Legacy Ethnic Publishers Face the Future by Eric Easter, EbonyJet.com
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Beyond Publishing: Legacy Ethnic Publishers Face the Future by Eric Easter, EbonyJet.com

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The Chicago New Media Summit, Sept 15-16, 2008. The Talk: Legacy magazine publishers are struggling with the digital world for reasons that might not always be so obvious. Minority publications have …

The Chicago New Media Summit, Sept 15-16, 2008. The Talk: Legacy magazine publishers are struggling with the digital world for reasons that might not always be so obvious. Minority publications have an even greater challenge.

But once they embrace that digital is not just a new publishing medium but a platform to reinvent the brand and “re-contextualize” a wealth of assets for a whole new audience, the opportunities are endless.


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  • 1. Chicago New Media Summit 2008 Beyond Publishing: Legacy Ethnic Publishers Face the Future How Culture Impacts the Use of New Media
  • 2. The Johnson Publishing Story Launched in 1940s by John H. Johnson as Negro Digest Evolved into Ebony in 1945. Launch of JET in 1951. Solidified its place in history with publishing of Emmett Till photos.
  • 3. Chronicled Black Culture and Black Progress with an Emphasis on Community Role Models - National and Local Became and Remains a Fixture in Black Households Most families have a personal history with the brands/15 Minutes of Fame Affirmation of Identity/Recognition of Existence and Achievement For half its history, the only publications of their type/ Nine separate publications at peak Opened up the national ad market to Black-focused media
  • 4. Expansion: Cosmetics Hair Care Books Television Radio Book & Music Clubs
  • 5. How Do You Translate a Historic Community Connection to a New Generation of People and Platforms? How Does Race & Culture Impact a Digital Strategy?
  • 6. In a global media landscape, is “ethnic media” still viable? With the opportunity to see a world of information, will audiences to seek out a singular cultural interest? A: Race is Culture. Affinity/Cultural Expression/Shared Interest. No Different than Gender. In what some perceive as a “post-racial” world isn’t ethnic media inherently divisive? Questions:
  • 7. The Move to Expand to Under-Served Audiences -Viacom/ BET/ VH1 Soul -Time Warner/ Essence/AOL Black Voices -Comcast/Radio One/TV One/Black Planet -IAC/Rushmore Drive - Washington Post Co./The Root New Media Measurement Affirms that People of Color Are not Monolithic. Within One Culture, Many Sub-Cultures, Many Approaches - The “Afrosphere”: 9500 Nominations for Black Blogger Awards
  • 8. Legacy Magazine Challenges
    • The Glossy Experience/Greater Perception of Cannabilization Threat
    • Subscribers Use Web to Manage Subscriptions/Users Tend to be New and May Have Little Connection to the Brand
    • Long-lead Production is Counter to the Web
    • Many assets undigitized
    • Rights Complications
    • Maintaining the Brand within the Context of a New Medium/A Fixed Demo is a Core Value of Magazines/What Happens when Other People Come?
    • Not all Print Ad Categories Have Moved to Online
  • 9. A Bigger Challenge: The Globalization of Black Culture has Dramatically Changed the Competitive Landscape
  • 10. Approach & Opportunities: Leap over boundaries and subscriber expectations Take the Risks You Can’t Take in Print - Expand the Vision Measure Past Assumptions and Make Adjustments Expand and ReShape the Audience Use new audiences to broader corporate advantage
  • 11. “ Re-Contextualize” Assets See the Modern Meaning in Legacy Content and Re-examine Impact on Today’s Society
  • 12. Establish New Talent Drill Deeper into the Community for Content - Nationally and Globally
  • 13. Results Web Demo is Younger, More Educated, Gender-Balanced, Less Black Design, Tone, Approach Attracts Web-Only Advertisers. Web Has Established its Own Value from Print Product. Attracted Unique Partnerships: You Tube/VH-1/Legacy.com/Chicago Public Radio/PBS Reduced Risk for Consumer Goods Divisions
  • 14. Digital helps lay the foundation for expansion into other media and consumer products by shaping and building audience demand and reshaping the perception of the brand. Use Brand Trust as a Platform Establish Greater Authority in Categories that can Become Brands Sub-Divide Assets by Brand Potential
  • 15. Digital Tools Can Change Their Relevance because of Culture Cultural Context Can Shape the Utility and Function of the Tools. Black Cultural Landmarks Map Translate the Core Mission into Tools Black Spending Tracker
  • 16.
    • Digital Media has trained consumers to expect and demand frequent change. So change.
    • Digital businesses should have stand-alone proposition
    • Digital platforms are more than a way to transfer assets. More valuable as a means to transform the broader business model and focus on “BRAND”
    • Don’t just rerun, “Re-Contextualize”
    • Culture shifts the approach and nature and utility of tools,
    • When barriers fall, audiences change and opportunities open
    LESSONS
  • 17.
    • Thank You!