If one magazine publisher is experiencing the growing pains of moving into the digital era, it is Emap. Since March this year the company has shed more than 175 jobs as part of a major restructuring process it called Magazines 2010. Last Thursday, Emap chairman Tom Moloney departed, ahead of this week’s mixed group results. The loss of jobs in non-editorial departments of the group’s B2B magazines has heralded the start of a restructuring in the division along the same lines as has already happened in consumer mags. Emap Consumer CEO Paul Keenan answers Press Gazette’s questions about the changes at the UK’s second biggest magazine publisher and explains what they mean for its journalists.
What was the driver behind Magazines 2010?
Magazines 2010 was about future-proofing our magazine business – freeing up resources to reinvest in the business by ensuring we are fitter, leaner and stronger.
It was about looking at how we do business and doing it better, faster and in a more joined-up fashion. It is enabling us to create great content and serve it to our audiences wherever, whenever and however they want it, changing the way we work so that we could do more with our brands and content on digital platforms.
What were the findings of that consultation process?
We are changing the way our teams work across editorial, advertising and marketing. Some are revolutionary – creating multiplatform content teams, while other changes are a result of identifying best practice in the business and spreading it everywhere.
How has Emap’s staff structure and editorial process changed in light of digitalisation and Web 2.0?
Teams of journalists, photographers, production experts and marketers are working on multiple media platforms. We are extending our reach, building deeper relationships with our audiences and advertisers and increasingly harnessing the creativity of those audiences on the web, on mobile and on the page.
Has this process turned the company from a magazine publisher to a digital publisher with a magazines arm – or is that the point?
What is a media company these days? There’s little distinction between content providers and technology companies. Is Google a media company? Microsoft? Yahoo? Media companies and technology companies have been talking about convergence for many years. Technology companies have felt incredibly comfortable about invading the space around content that was traditionally owned by the media company.
I think now it’s our turn to be equally creative in redefining our business. Today’s media consumers aren’t changing, they have changed. For them, the boundaries between old and new media have already blurred and they’re finding the content, whatever the platform.
Emap is in an incredibly strong position, because we have world-class brands and are better placed than many other ‘publishers’ to drive our brand-loyal customers to our content – be it online, mobile, video, radio or print.
Can you confirm the number of job losses at Emap’s titles? Can you explain the necessity of these as part of the restructuring process?
Through the 2010 process, around 175 people left the business. Technology has enabled us to work differently and more efficiently and that has resulted in these job losses. That was painful and hard, but by no means unique given the scale of change within the industry.
Are these changes likely to be reflected on the B2B side of Emap’s business?
Initiatives around a more digital workflow are Emap-wide.
How have the changes affected how Emap journalists work?
If you watch how consumer behaviour is changing, it shows the way in which we need to change. Magazines, mobile and the web are fundamentally different media – they offer different experiences. We are finding that our creative teams are enjoying the opportunity to write, film, shoot and comment online, on-air and on the page. We are doing a lot of experimentation: trying things out, learning what works and what doesn’t, adapting as we go.
What will Emap now be looking for in its journalists of the future?
The future is hugely more digital than now. With our brands and reach, we can build strong audiences online quickly. Our journalists and creative teams will enjoy many more ways of interacting with and reaching those audiences. So teamwork, an entrepreneurial spirit, flexibility and fast decision making will mark out those teams which will win in future.