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Justin Smith

President | The Atlantic



By Matt Kinsman and Vanessa Voltolina
06/30/2009

The really successful media players understand it’s a totally different game. We look at ourselves less as being in the content business and more as being in the business of serving customer segments.

On one hand, you’ve got your traditional media business modules, dominated by subscription streams and advertising streams. When you add in events, you move out of that traditional business model and into a more professional services or marketing services model.

Our digital revenue is up 55 percent while print is flat. Our events business is up 25 percent. That business is very different from the traditional media business in that we’re dealing with c-suite customers, not agencies. It’s a shade closer toward what McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group do than to what a magazine traditionally does. We’ll sit down with a CMO and ask ‘What are your objectives with your brand vis-a-vis influential customer segments?’

The b-to-b world has gotten there faster and consumer media companies are changing into more b-to-b type models. The main thrust of this is the digital revolution and what that’s done to advertising relationships. The traditional consumer media model is really smoke and mirrors—buy our brand, buy our audience, look at this arguably flawed, syndicated research that says people are reading.

That’s not good enough anymore. Marketers are saying, ‘Sorry, when I can track ROI so much more effectively in digital, I can’t buy into that anymore.’ Consumer publishers are being forced, quite rightly, to provide a lot more accountability. They have to get into the database business, the lead generation business, and the events business.

We’re running in this direction of creating content and experiences for a defined customer segment, but we haven’t gotten to the lead generation side yet. That’s the holy grail.


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By Matt Kinsman and Vanessa Voltolina
06/30/2009







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