How This 200-Year-Old Publisher is Winning at Life

[responsive]watchtime-cover[/responsive]Ebner Publishing has had a very good year, during a time when many publishers are struggling. What does this 200-year-old company know that the rest of us need to understand?

As magazine publishers attempt to redefine themselves as magazine media brands, Ebner is having tremendous success with a mobile-first strategy for its WatchTime title.

“WatchTime has mastered the transformation from a small print publication to a large multi-channel media brand,” writes Cobus Heyl in FIPP. “At a time when many magazines, including watch magazines, are declining, WatchTime has dramatically increased its audience thanks to initiatives we’ve made in digital publishing.”

And it’s not just digital growth.

“While adopting the mobile first strategy, WatchTime has grown print circulation and revenues and the brand is profitable across the channels in which it operates,” Heyl continues.

He asked Ebner’s Dominik Grau how they’ve achieved this, at a time when much larger and more established companies (with the budgets to match) are struggling. Grau’s answers bring it back to the basics of good marketing: understanding your audience and being where they are.

“We precisely defined what lies at the core of WatchTime’s brand and we defined our audience’s most pressing needs,” Grau shared with Heyl. “This was the basis of a five-year plan that the Ebner Group and our CEO Gerrit Klein implemented aggressively, with a strict focus on digital channels.

“We did not look at our competitors at all; we simply wanted to build the world’s best and largest media platform for watches across all channels,” Grau continues. “We call this our ‘’watch collector outreach strategy.’

In the three years since they began this mobile-first initiative, the company is seeing some phenomenal growth:

·  900 per cent newsletter database increase

·  800 per cent digital subscriber increase

·  700 per cent website visitors increase

·  300 per cent increase in digital revenues

·  50 per cent increase in total advertising revenues

As Grau says, “It’s actually very easy to understand: wherever the audience is, whatever device they use to consume watch content, however they share this content and whatever software they use to store and re-access information, we will be there with WatchTime.