SVP, Digital Media ﾕ Hachette Filipacchi
Wohrle’s driving Hachette’s online focus from low-hanging fruit to real revenue.
In a 2006 Folio: survey of consumer magazine CEOs, 77 percent of those with revenue under $10 million and 57 percent of those with revenue over $10 million expected new print advertisers to be their fastest growing revenue stream. It’s safe to say Hachette Filipacchi was not one of those companies. Over the last two years, the company has folded three magazines;ElleGirl, Premiere and Shock;in favor of an online-only approach, while ramping up the e-media business for the rest of the company, with the intent of getting 20 percent of overall revenue from online and mobile within the next five years. And Marta Wohrle, senior vice president of digital media, is in charge of making it happen.
Wohrle had served as a consultant to Hachette before joining the executive ranks a year and a half ago. “When I arrived, we had just come out of the dot-com recession and it was time to start investing,” she says. “Any growth had started to flatten out and we were on the cusp of seeing our online audience decline.”
Wohrle had to build a team (growing the number of online staffers from 30 to 85) and start developing a real strategy. “A lot of it was doing the fundamental ‘Web 101′ things right and getting some good quick wins,” she says. That resulted in an average 100 percent audience growth across the Web sites.
Today, ElleGirl.com has enjoyed a 300 percent increase in traffic with very limited marketing and this month starts broadcasting (and sponsoring) a video series called “The Prom Queen” that can be viewed on multiple platforms. Other Hachette Web sites are moving to a ratio of 80 percent unique online content and 20 percent print content. Even mature brands are gearing up online. Womansday.com is redesigning with blogs written by the magazine’s name-brand writers as the centerpiece of the home page.
“This year is the year of the vision;what are we really going to do to make the Web sites a huge success with audiences and advertisers,” says Wohrle. “Time-to-market is the biggest challenge. It isn’t fast to do things on the Internet. Building out Web sites is a complex process. There are a lot of content-management systems out there, but no Web publishing platform. It’s a challenge to be scaleable and nimble with this technology, and we’re not technology companies.”
Wohrle believes that in five years Hachette will see 20 percent of its overall revenue coming from online and mobile.