CDS Global blog, Jan. 26, 2012
A summary of my interview with David Carey.

In a recent interview conducted by Mr. Magazine (Samir Husni – @MrMagazine), David Carey (@CareyAtHearst), president of Hearst Magazines shared his views on the future of publishing, the ongoing print vs. digital debate and what keeps him up at night.

As a marketer focused on the publishing industry, the interview provided valuable insight into Hearst’s approach the future of publishing related to both print and digital.

Key highlights of the interview include:
– Successful Launch of New Title – HGTV Magazine – This property had an overwhelmingly positive consumer response in its initial launch in late 2011. Success of this new title can arguably derived from changes in the housing market, increased consumer interest in DIY design projects and most importantly filling what Carey mentioned as “whitespace” in the market for a publication dedicated to home improvement topics. As ratings increased for HGTV in the television market, moving into the magazine publishing arena was a highly lucrative move for both Hearst and the broadcasting channel.

– New Devices – Carey mentioned that this has both enhanced and increased the level of consumer consumption. Not to mention, this takes the friction out of the customer experience – consumers can easily download publications directly to their tablets for immediate consumption, which isn’t available through newsstand or print subscriptions.

– Marketability of Archived Content – Hearst reported that 30 percent of their single copy sales come from archived content. This provides an incredible opportunity to move into the backlist market – a traditional strategy of book publishers that can now be translated to the magazine publishing industry.

– Digital is not a threat to print – Carey mentioned that digital is viewed as a new opportunity rather than a threat to print. When embracing a digital strategy, publishers should consider digital editions and replicas as just another part of their overall marketing mix with print, online, products and other methods to extend their brand(s) in the marketplace.

The most important piece of the interview that I found most compelling is related to what keeps David Carey up at night. Carey relayed that the fact that his organization is now in competition with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs brings a new channel for them to consider in their competitive landscape. While this is a group of nontraditional competitors for magazine publishers to consider, this pushes large publishers like Hearst, Time Inc., Meredith and Conde Nast to operate in a “large and nimble” atmosphere with the ability to move quickly under pressure.

Overall, I would highly recommend watching the full interview included below as it drives new insight and expert opinion regarding the future of the magazine publishing industry.