The largest media company in the world didn’t get that way by playing it safe and pulling back when things got tough. And they have no intention of doing so now.
Meredith Corporation VP and Group Publisher Scott Mortimer recently spoke to Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni about the constant state of change in the publishing industry. Not surprisingly, he brings it all back to having a deep understanding of their audience.
“From a speculative media perspective, it’s a consumer experience and we’re doing our best to create products that consumers want to buy and want to be a part of and that they’re passionate about,” Mortimer told Husni. “We have an unbelievable lineup of brands inside of Meredith that we’re leaning into and we’ve been very fortunate to also work with some great publishing partners and some great new brands out there; Magnolia Journal, Happy Paws, Forks Over Knives and Reveal; brands like that. We’ve just been fortunate that we’re creating products that consumers are engaging with and spending money to be a part of.”
The names of those popular titles seem to roll off his tongue, but when you stop and look at what it really takes to launch a massively popularly new title in the current media landscape, you start the see the secret recipe – the collaboration with partners who have enormously engaged audiences, the focus on lifestyle niches that speak to the individual in each of us – it’s this ability to see around the corners that’s truly at the heart of their success while other media brands are focusing on what’s not working.
“Consumers vote with their pocketbooks, and let me give you some context around that,” Mortimer continued in his interview with Husni. “In our fiscal year, which ends in June, we’re going to sell about 20 million copies of special interest publications at retail. And 17 million of those are priced at $10 and higher. So, there’s clearly an appetite out there for quality products and immersive experiences that magazines deliver, we sort of compare it to the Netflix of magazines, if you will.”
As a major player in the newsstand scenario, he knows they have a powerful position comes with some enormous challenges.
“It’s a business that, while very challenged, there’s no question about it, we’re competing at checkouts with gum, candy and mints like everybody else is, but when we get display space,” Mortimer said, “we sell products. And that’s what’s so exciting about this, that people are looking for the brands that we have and looking for those experiences, and looking for the products that we’re delivering.”
For Meredith, the future continues to unfold, one corner at a time and the right titles seem to happen when they are most welcome, like Magnolia Journal, Happy Paws and now Reveal.
“And again, the success of a brand like that… when you put a couple issues out you learn what time of year works, what cover blurbs work; and you kind of learn what the appetite of the consumer is for a frequency and a cadence for the magazine,” he notes.
Take a few minutes to read the full interview; it’s a great look inside the mind of a magazine brand that just gets it.