The fashion magazine Elle is looking like a publishing rock star lately.
In his article “Elle Sets Print and Digital Records,” Fishbowl’s Chris O’Shea reports on a recent CNBC interview with the magazine’s Kevin O’Malley. The publisher and chief revenue officer cites record setting months for both their print and digital channels.
In part, O’Malley credits good timing, saying that many fashion houses use the September issue to highlight their fall lines, and luxury retailers use this time of year to kick off the holiday shopping season.
Yet the discussion shortly turns to the value of a multi-channel approach for publishers.
“The headline for us is it’s our largest issue ever, but it doesn’t tell the whole story,” says O’Malley.
Elle really did have one killer month, with the publication of the September issue as the largest ever for the title. Not only that, but their online content portal at Elle.com reported the highest revenue this past month since it launched in 1996, and the highest ever for any Hearst title.
O’Malley explains that much of their success is due to repositioning themselves not just as magazine publishers but as content publishers. He predicts that many consumers will continue to pick up and read magazines as they always have. And many others, who may never have read their brand in print, will engage in their digital channels.
“As we continue to evolve as a multi-channel brand,” he continues, “this approach is really indicative of…our transformation from operating as a magazine brand to a 21st century content brand.”
It’s a distinction worth noting, as Elle continues to create channel-specific content for outlets like Google Glass and social media.
What we love about this news is that it clearly demonstrates that magazine revenue is not an either/or proposition. Making money via digital does not mean the print version is sinking. Instead, the progressive team at Elle is clearly thinking like their customers and providing the kind of content they crave, in the channels they want to use, and evolving their approach to publishing content in ways that increase the brand on all channels.
It looks good on you, Elle.