Monthly Archives: August 2012

Revisions Summary

For my revisions, I cleaned up the grammar of all of my posts and modified the Overview to fit the case studies and remaining sections of my blog/paper. The grammar involved cleaning up run-on sentences, which I have overused since middle school, and combing through smaller errors. The Overview now reflects not only the prominence of the Big Three but why I focused on magazines that were not owned by any of these big publishing houses. This necessarily made it a bit longer but I think it gets at the questions I asked a bit better now. I also combined posts so that the overall site is easier to navigate and the reader can understand the flow between sections.

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Conclusion

The magazine industry is an exciting one, mostly because the cultural creators and consumers are both watching to see how much technology will change the industry in this time of transition. At the center of the magazine publishing industry sits New York City, the metropolis that many of its residents consider the central cultural hub of the world.

New York is in the midst of a tech company explosion, with many startups being created all the time as it surpasses other cities to shoot to the number two spot for American tech centers (second only to Silicon Valley, an area defined and synonymous with the emerging 21st-century tech industry). Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the connected, close-contact nature of the city to create apps and tools that help the city run smoothly and help consumers find what they want and need.

The place that magazines have in this landscape is one of polished journalism, authoritative analysis, and more credibility than blog writers, though there are definitely many other contentiously debated strengths  and weaknesses of both forms. In particular domains the differences are more pronounced according to what function a blog or magazine has for the reader. With magazine websites people may dip in to many site to experience some content and then quickly move on to other sites, much in the way that people can buy their single favorite song off of an album or episode in a TV series through iTunes rather than buying the whole thing. This changes the media landscape and discourages content that readers are not interested in; the goal is to keep readers on the website as long as possible, exploring and viewing or clicking on ads, and perhaps becoming a subscriber to the print or iPad editions of the magazine.

After researching both New York magazine and Fast Company and learning a bit about the big three for the overview, it looks like New York will remain the center of the magazine publishing industry for quite a while even as tablets and the Internet change the media landscape. Blogs can be created from any place in the world where someone has access to an Internet connection and is literate. In order to publish a glossy magazine on paper that can be distributed to a huge national or international audience, you need much more infrastructure and money. Both New York and Fast Company are magazines that don’t have the 100-year history of some of the most enduring popular magazines yet because of this modern sensibility, could be more easily revamped and updated to keep up with the 21st century.

Within the past decade, by redoing the graphic design of each magazine, creating robust and intriguing websites, and updating content to reflect the interests of their readers, both magazines have been winning awards and have seen successful because of it. Readership can increase more easily in the Information Age since readers can come to a magazine from a link to an interesting article they see on Facebook or Twitter rather than only through the magazine on a newsstand. Magazines are able to cast a wide net as they hope to draw in more subscribers and readers.

Overall this investigation was enlightening and interesting, and gives me hope for the magazine industry as a whole in the future. Although we will likely see changes in the digital editions of magazines as tablets become more robust, advanced, and prevalent, and maybe magazine stands will be less ubiquitous around New York, the industry will certainly not die. This looks like a case of creative destruction where the experiences surrounding media and the appearances of different types of media will probably change, but the mediums themselves will endure.

You can barely walk 5 blocks in Manhattan without running into a newsstand, with walls full of glossy covers in bright colors trying to catch your eye and empty your wallet in innocent $5 increments. Magazines are a part of New York and the city is ever-present in magazines (even those that are national or international). Technology is changing our culture rapidly, but this glorious center of Media and the Arts is here to stay.

Case Study 2: Fast Company Magazine

History and Competitors/Differentiation

Fast Company Magazine is a print and web publication owned by Mansueto Ventures, a company run by Joe Mansueto. It was purchased in 2005 from Gruner + Jahr, who had previously bought the company from its founders in 2000. The magazine was founded in 1995 by former editors of the Harvard Business Review. Joe Mansueto seems to be a bit more rooted in Chicago than New York, as an alum of the University of Chicago who also lives in the city and is a limited partner in Time Out Chicago. This makes his choice of New York as the hub for both Fast Company and Inc. an interesting one, which I can only suspect was made since New York is a publishing powerhouse and would put the magazines in close proximity with other big Business publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek, Barron’s, Forbes, and SmartMoney. Notably, Entrepreneur, which I personally think is the most similar to Fast Company, is based in Irvine, California–far from the East Coast Media Industry but right next to Hollywood. Fast Company has evolved in recent years under the helm of Mansueto. In 2008 and 2009, the old guard was replaced by the new, with Bob Safian taking over as Editor and Christine Osekiski taking the reigns as Publisher.

MANSUETO VENTURES is a publishing company dedicated to serving the business leaders who are shaping the future of today’s economy. We publish Inc. and Fast Company, brands with different audiences, but similar challenges and goals. The company was founded in 2005 when Joe Mansueto bought Inc. and Fast Company.

The passionate communities that have become engaged with these brands are now the focal point of all of our efforts at MV. Our customers are important and influential folks. And we currently have more than two million of them. Through a full complement of print, online, events, custom publishing and integrated marketing solutions, Mansueto Ventures offers the world’s leading advertisers the unique ability to build their brands and move their products within the fast-growing business sector.

New NYC Office

Mansueto Ventures has their offices at 7 World Trade Center in the new buildings that surround Ground Zero. The company hoped to revive the images in the two publications that it owns, Fast Company and Inc., while they brought their workspace into a part of New York that similarly hopes to give birth to new innovation as it continues to remember its past. According to the New York Times article about Fast Company’s move, written in spring of 2007,

The new space, according to Mr. Koten, fits in perfectly with the message the company sends its 1.44 million subscribers, the majority of them high-earning male managers and entrepreneurs. “We are taking the advice we give to our readers, to be ahead of the trend, be pioneering and go where other people are afraid to go,” he said.

This is interesting for a few reasons. While they are trying to be pioneering, clearly their readership is largely made of up of the types people you would expect to read a magazine about business (male, managers and entrepreneurs, high income). Perhaps this is why their most recent issue is about Extraordinary Women. Fast Company seems to recognize that the world of Entrepreneurship is changing, and people who may not have previously been inclined or able to start their own “fast companies” now have the opportunities and resources to do so–women, people of color, and young people. Judging from the fact that they have upwards of 92,000 Facebook fans, and their recent issue with a cover story on “Generation Flux“, they recognize this shift and are ready to fully embrace it. Fast Company prides itself on innovation, and as a publication that not only keeps track of innovation in other companies but also tries to be creative in itself, they have some exciting and unique branches of their media brand that other magazines lack. In keeping with the values that drive their blog Co.Exist (more about this later), they made sure they were housed in an environmentally-friendly building.

Seven World Trade Center is the first New York City office tower to receive a gold rating for environmental sustainability from the United States Green Building Council.

There is also an emphasis on open space that facilitates collaboration and informal gatherings, a trend that can also be seen in the most progressive schools and many tech companies (such as Google). In the increasingly intertwined worlds of technology and business, Fast Company is placing itself firmly in the middle as a unique and forward-thinking publication that is looking towards the future of business in a world that is driven by technological advances.

Creative | Progressive | Innovative

Mission: Fast Company is the chronicle of how business can change the world.

Fast Company was founded on a single premise: A global revolution was changing business, and business was changing the world. Today, the business world continues to change, and Fast Company continues to evolve as well.

Fast Company sets the agenda, charting the evolution of business through a unique focus on the most creative individuals sparking change in the marketplace. By uncovering best and “next” practices, the magazine helps a new breed of leader work smarter and more effectively.

Entering the Digital Realm

With the formation of Mansueto Digital in 2007, the company began its expansion into more unique web and mobile content for its two magazines. An early redesign happened in 2008. Fast Company in subsequent years continued to add more digital media, and another renovation came later on,in the beginning of 2012 for the Co.Design website and in 2010 for the magazine. Some interesting projects that came out of their foray into tech include the Influence Project from 2010 (perhaps influenced by the launch of Klout in 2009?) and their iPad app launched earlier this year. The iPad app, although it came out later than the apps created by many other magazines, it includes exciting interactive elements that put it in the league of tech-centric magazines like Wired that have taken full advantage of the touch screen medium.

Fast Company has a great cross-platform media presence, including channels from their website, Twitter, Facebook, Stumble Upon (which also has channels for Co.Design and Co.Exist), LinkedIn, and Google+. The best thing about these channels? They don’t just blast out the same article to each one and hope it sticks. Of course, some pieces get repeat postings, but looking through all of the social media sites simultaneously does not paint a picture of the same magazine on six different websites. Fast Company is utilizing the unique dynamic created in each social media platform and figures out how to best utilize all the features each one offers. For example, on their Facebook page, Fast Company has Photo Albums for stories that are heavy on visuals, some of the Videos that go on its site also find their way on Facebook, and an Events page that lists previous events held in New York and elsewhere around the country. Although it isn’t listed on their Facebook page, the website for the Innovation Uncensored conference in Spring 2013 is already up and running.

Fast Company’s prominent blogs are Co.Design, Co.Exist, Co.Create, and Co.Lead. The first three have separate websites and logos with their own robust and frequently updated content that is written in the same style as the magazine, but is not included in the print publication. They each also include newsletters that you can subscribe through separately, and some have their own websites on the social media channels listed above. Co.Design covers “business + innovation + design” and that also holds its own special competitions like the Innovation by Design AwardsCo.Exist was launched in 2011 as a website covering “WORLD CHANGING IDEAS AND INNOVATION”, in the categories of “environment, energy, technology, food, health, transportation, urbanism, and poverty”. Co.Create is about “creativity in the converging worlds of branding, entertainment, and tech”, with the motto “CREATIVITY \ CULTURE \ COMMERCE”. Each of the three is run by a different editor, so even with the same site design the three blogs end up having different personalities and perspectives. Co.Lead is a part of the normal Fast Company website and is about management, also containing the 30-second MBA advice video collection.

New York and the Magazine

Fast Company Magazine is not city-centric, but it does derive some things from its home base in New York City. A search of the Fast Company website for “New York” results in over 66,000 pages and articles, while the results for Chicago are only about 4,500, Los Angeles 4,600,  Boston 3,200, and San Francisco + Silicon Valley are 5,400 and 3,500, respectively (around 9,000 total). This is an informal way to gather that even though Fast Company is rooted in analysis of trends and topics in Business as a whole, there are definitely more pieces of content rooted in New York culture (or perhaps there’s just such a high concentration of businesses that this bias is inevitable!). I think Fast Company is constantly reviving its image in the hopes that it will survive the tech revolution that is reverberating through all types of businesses, and with Silicon Alley and plans for Roosevelt Island, clearly New York is doing the same. With these goals of rebirth and growth in mind, Fast Company is inextricably tied to its home in New York City!