If there was one thing Hearst wanted media buyers to take away from its hip, "house party" styled Newfronts presentation atop Hearst Tower Wednesday evening, it was that the legacy magazine publisher is committed to reaching millennials. Really, really committed.
The shirtless male dance crew that kicked off the evening's proceedings to the tune of Ginuwine's "Pony" may have been met with initial confusion from the attendees hastily seeking drink refills from the stage's adjacent full bars, but all was explained when actor Channing Tatum and Hearst Digital Media SVP Lee Sosin took to the stage to reveal a year-long content partnership between Cosmopolitan and "Magic Mike Live," a Vegas installation based on the hit films. The exclusive content deal will include multiple video series, Facebook Live broadcasts, Snapchat takeovers, and virtual reality.
Video content, particularly that produced in concert with Snapchat Discover and Facebook Live, would become a dominant theme throughout the program.
A sizzle reel followed Tatum's departure from the stage, depicting the digital initiatives Hearst's various brands have been taking and culminating in one all-encompassing mantra: "Hearst. We make good sh*t." For those over-35's reading this, millennials apparently don't have time for verbosity or austere decorum. Millennials just want good shit.
Troy Young, president of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, touted the company's massive success in digital video production—over 350 million video views monthly with 100 new videos produced each week—before stating, "If you want to connect with millennial audiences, you need to get Snapchat right."
Snapchat's VP of content, Nick Bell, lauded Hearst's embrace of the app's Discover publishing platform. Expanded content partnerships were revealed, exclusive to Discover, including "SnapHacks," a series of advice videos covering food, fashion, beauty, and fitness produced by Cosmopolitan; and "The Sweet Guide to a Better Life," designed to help viewers expand their cultural horizons.
Esquire's new editor-in-chief, Jay Fielden, previewed his new celebrity and style game show, "Who's That Guy," which will be broadcast on Facebook Live (Hearst plans to produce over 200 Facebook Live broadcasts each month, according to Todd Haskell, SVP and CRO of Hearst Magazines Digital Media).
Other notable video launches in the works include "WhoHaHa," an original comedy series developed by Cosmopolitan and actor/comedian Elizabeth Banks; Elle.com's "How Do I Wear That?," meant to bring the latest runway looks from Paris and Milan into the everyday woman's closet; Esquire's "How to Be a Man," depicting hapless former Cosmo staffer Frank Kobola attempting to carry out "manly" tasks (you see, millennials love rigid gender norms but hate manual labor); Manhood, a documentary series taking a more serious look at what it means to be a man in the 21st century; and "The Younger Games," following Kelly Deadmon's irreverant and comedic attempts to look younger.
"The star of every video we make is the person watching it," said Sosin. "Whether it's smart service, hilarious comedy, or inspiring journeys, everything is audience-first and built to be shared."
If anything was clear to those taking the 40+ floor elevator descent back to ground level at Hearst Tower Wednesday evening, it's that Hearst knows who its partners want to reach, and it's doing everything it can to get them there.