19th December 2018

Digital Transformation of a leading magazine publishing business

Archant's leading county magazine portfolio undertook digital transformation
Archant’s leading county magazine portfolio undertook digital transformation.

I was employed at Archant as Digital Director, to lead the digital transformation of their magazines.

As a market leading portfolio of premium, regional lifestyle magazines, Archant’s Life magazine business is often emulated.

The magazine publishing industry is severely disrupted, with many organisations undergoing Digital Transformation Projects of their magazines. Disruption is everywhere.

I joined Archant from Haymarket and was tasked to lead a wholesale digital transformation of the entire business, from the ground up, multi-functional. – especially the people.

A complimentary suite of digital solutions

The result was a series of complimentary digital advertising, content and subscription solutions. These worked together to stem the decline in print magazine copy sales. The portfolio became one of the few in the UK to manage circulation growth whilst building new digital revenue streams that outstripped it’s newspaper sister products.

People drive digital transformation
It was the people that delivered such success, they adapted to change.

We managed to launch the group’s first programmatic advertising products. This also laid the foundation for native and content marketing. We created a digital editorial strategy, adopted group wide to deliver this.

Recruiting digital talent across the business

I was able to recruit a superb digital editorial and commercial team. The models created laid the ground work for digital transformation across the group. Through these experts and their demonstrable leadership, I could bring the legacy organisation with me.

Archant were one of the first publishers in the UK to partner with an ‘on demand’ magazine subscription service – a Netflix for magazines. Identification of these opportunities early, along with fast evaluation, made the difference. Both internally and externally.

There are more regional lifestyle magazines in the UK than ever before, the vast majority of which are free and all aspire to Archant’s Life Magazines.

Building a digital strategy that required both print and digital to work together, we managed to achieve market trend beating success.

You can see directly what Tim Thurston, Managing Director of the portfolio has to say about it.