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Jet Publisher: ‘We Had to Completely Rethink’ Distribution Beyond Print

As print struggles, Johnson Publishing looks to online, mobile, e-readers.

Jason Fell By Jason Fell
05/14/2010 -12:07 PM

As part of a bigger initiative to reposition Ebony and Jet beyond just their printed magazines, Johnson Publishing has launched The site is constructed around eight topic verticals, including Jet Buzz, Jet Beauty, Jet Love, Jet Connect, Jet Perspective, Jet Style, Jet Music and Jet Video.

And to really make sure that you know that the Jet brand is more than just that struggling print product, Johnson headed into the production studio (and tapped celebrities like actress/singer Brandy and Trey Songz) to put together this slick video press release:

In the video, acting chief marketing officer Melvin P. Young says the idea behind the site is to “create a new value proposition with a distinctive brand identity” and enhance the online user experience. "Users will have the opportunity to participate, actively engage and share very unique experiences across each of these branded sites," Young says of the topic channels.

In the face of a difficult magazine market, Johnson has been revamping the Ebony and Jet brands to include multiplatform content creation. In print, the company has been working to attract new, younger audiences as well as to position the company as the go-to source for news and entertainment with a “unique black point-of view.”

Through the first three months of 2010, Ebony saw advertising pages tumble 30.6 percent compared to the same period last year, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures. At Jet, the losses were even steeper; ad pages declined 33.1 percent.

"As a media company, we had to completely rethink distribution in terms of our content offering beyond print,” Johnson chairman and CEO Linda Johnson Rice says in the video. That means Johnson’s brands are expanding into social media, events, mobile and e-readers and tablets like the Apple iPad.

So does deliver the engaging, go-to online environment Johnson says it was aiming for? You be the judge. Leave your comments below.


Jason Fell By Jason Fell --

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