The Atlantic Learns To Out-Innovate Itself
from the key-lessons dept
That's why it's always great to find the rare examples of an organization that seem to not just recognize this need to out-innovate yourself, but to also successfully implement a strategy for doing so. FolioMag has a short story about how the magazine, The Atlantic totally reinvented itself and did so successfully. Atlantic Media's President even made the point directly:
"If our mission was to kill the magazine, what would we do?" said Smith, who added that a digital competitor was going to do that anyway, so they did it themselves.Read that again. There are so few companies that realize this needs to be a key element of their strategy. Someone else is out there trying to kill them. So do it yourself and reap the rewards. In the case of The Atlantic, it appears that the strategy they took was twofold: first, they realized they needed to be a "digital first" operation. That is, they recognized that digital wasn't just an adjunct to the print product, but a core element of the brand and the publication. So, they didn't look for ways to enhance the print product with some digital trickery -- but instead, looked for ways to make the digital product be fantastic on its own. And, now, nearly 40% of the brand's revenue comes from its online properties, at a time when many other publications that come from the print world are still struggling to get online revenues out of the single digits.
On top of that, it looks like Atlantic Media really did search for additional scarce reasons to buy that applied to the media field. The Atlantic realized that events (scarcity: access) were a big idea that many consumer publications ignored:
Smith has also built up the company's live event platform, and noted this is an area where consumer publishers often fall flat. "Consumer publishers don't view events as a profit center," he said. Accordingly, live event revenues have doubled over the last two years.It's always great to see a company making smart strategic decisions, even if it conflicts with a legacy line of business.
This will also likely be one of the topics we touch on tomorrow night at the Techdirt Saves* Journalism event. If you haven't signed up yet, you're missing out. The signed-up attendees represent a fantastic and diverse mix of thinkers and doers from a variety of different fields (well beyond just journalism -- though, there are plenty of traditional "journalism" folks coming too). As I've been preparing for the event, talking to the other speakers and some of the attendees, it's getting more and more exciting. Getting lots of smart people together to brainstorm is always so much fun.