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Media Intelligence : 2008 Intelligence
CASE STUDY Marnie Neck is the Managing Director of Pagesdigital – a new media company specialising in online magazines targeted at the youth market. She tells MT+S how launching straight to digital has paid off. Can you tell us about your products? At the core of Pagesdigital are the magazine brands that have been built upon across the three successful titles within the group. pages, the fi rst title launched, is focused on fashion, art, travel and music catered towards an influential demographic. The second title, Monkey Say, is specifi cally for the boys, focusing on surf, skate and snow culture. The music title, Groupie, caters to a younger audience. Essentially anyone between the ages of 15–30 can visit Pagesonline and find a relatable culture. The magazines brands are the platform from which all other developments grow, including pagesfashionTV, pagesstudio, Groupie Presents, event production and custom publishing. Why online? Any plans to launch a print product? No way! We only move forward! “Think Left, Look Forward” is our company tagline. I felt limited working in a print publishing house. The distribution is dependent upon physical outlets, the pages are two dimensional, and there is only so much you can do for advertisers. The online landscape allows for endless ways to interact with your audience, and ensures the Pagesdigital team and creative agencies can constantly challenge themselves. How have you found selling on your titles? Do you deal directly with clients, or is it through agencies? We deal with both agency and clients direct. It was extremely frustrating the fi rst year trying to get agencies and clients to comprehend the benefi ts of online media. Obviously the industry has come a long way since then, however it baffl es me that we still walk into seemingly progressive companies (client direct) to fi nd they don’t have online media spends, or have a lack of understanding of the potential of new media. This may be due to several reasons including a lack of education in the industry; brand managers being in companies too long and upper level management not putting in place education strategies to teach their staff about capitalising upon new media and brands being too complacent and set in their ways and not wanting to think outside the square. Focused digital agencies defi nitely understand and embrace new media. I would like to see direct clients take on new media specialists within their companies as a part of the marketing team to further progress the industry. How did the client and custom publishing side come about? Most aspects of Pagesdigital comes directly from client demand. The clients for whom we do produce custom magazines are looking for more than the standard page-turning mechanism that has diluted the market since we launched. We supply a much more integrated and visually progressive format. The clients that want online magazines to promote their product are looking for a way to increase the touch-points with their consumers. It is an all engaging experience that involves direct interaction on several levels and a compelling means to action for the consumer. On average, readers spend 14 minutes within each magazine, and re- read each issue twice over the month. What are the unique characteristics of an online publication that make it a good marketing tool? The strongest feature would be the linear nature. Unlike standard cluttered websites, the advertisements harness 100% of the users’ attention at any one time. The advertising space is a mini website incorporating audio, TVC’s, full screen images, and click throughs. It is an all engaging piece of real estate. With your expansion into events and mobile, do you find clients are now looking for deals across all platforms? Our expansion into mobile content is a new development within the company. It is building, and we fi nd ourselves again pioneering a new platform within our chosen fi elds as we did with the magazine format four years ago. It is primarily about building content that we can also transfer to the website and magazines. Video and pre-roll advertising is a strong aspect of the company we are focusing on. Event production is an area that has occurred naturally in the past with a handful of clients that are looking for an all service solution and that come to us for creative input and ideas. What makes a good online magazine? Without a strong and loyal audience you have nothing to attract advertisers. So content and cut-through is crucial, especially in this cluttered Web 2.0 generation. The focus is coming back to the editors and contributors of a magazine being dependable, relatable voices. It is critical to know and understand the audience you are speaking to if you wish to engage them in cultural dialogue. It’s about delivering on your promise. Offering strong, integrated, advertising packages for brands that are relevant to the audience. Building a brand and all the basics of brand development and publishing apply in the same way to online magazines. For information on your sector go to www.mediabiznet.com.au