Vice President, Technology Group, Future US
Byrne overhauled her group by rebuilding the team and launching a series of new print and digital products, finding early success through a well-defined app strategy.
The year 2010 was a busy one for Kate Byrne, vice president of enthusiast publisher Future USâ€™s technology group, which includes Mac Life, Maximum PC and Windows: The Official Magazine. Following a complete rebuild of the sales team and several new editorial appointments, Byrne set about an aggressive app creation campaignâ€”in addition to launching Maximum Tech.
The new title, which targets the high-end consumer electronics market and its early adopters, embodies Futureâ€™s emphasis on newsstand and subscription revenue model. While Maximum Tech is newsstand-only and quarterly so far, itâ€™s achieved a 33 percent sell-through, or about 120,000 copies, in the middle of a decidedly tough retail market. Byrne expects to take the title bi-monthly in 2012 and monthly by 2013.
Next, Byrneâ€™s team began rolling out apps, starting with the Mac Life brand. Byrne tapped her audience for their suggestions on what they wanted out of a Mac Life appâ€”social media capabilities ranked high. â€śThe key was social media, which no one was doing. We couldnâ€™t understand how the publishing community missed that,â€ť she says.
Mac Lifeâ€™s first app was free and was leveraged as a marketing vehicle for the brand. The app shot to the top of the free app store, staying at number one for a week. Version two launched at $1.99, took number one in the news category and received 26,000 downloads. To date, the app represents 20 percent of the print circulation. A third version is about to launch at 99 cents and will morph into a reviews guide, taking a more vertical, utilitarian path.
A straight replica of the magazine was never an intended strategy.Â â€śApps of magazines are a companion piece,â€ť says Byrne. â€śDifferent apps are something new and a better potential revenue stream. I wanted to create a new stable of products.â€ť
Overall, Byrneâ€™s efforts have paid off. In 2010, the overall revenue goal for her group was smashed by 127 percent, EBITDA was 8 percent over goal and the groupâ€™s profit margin grew by 25 percent.
VITAL STATS: In 2010, Byrne blew past her groupâ€™s fiscal year revenue goals by 127 percent and EBIDTA by 8 percent. Profit margin jumped 25 percent.