Riding the digital wave at Kerrang, Heat and WGSN

Kerrang!

Kerrang! has been multiplatform since 2001 and the launch of its TV channel, according to deputy MD Emap Metro-Music Stuart Williams.

The title had been selling around 40,000 copies a week since its launch in 1981, but it sold double that figure within 18 months of the launch of the spin-off TV channel.

‘We have been thinking in content hub terms and cross-media terms for a long time,’said Williams. He added that staff were excited by the opportunities in new media. ‘They want to learn new skills. If you are just a magazines journalist, in five years’ time your CV is going to look barren.”

‘If you are able to write 250 words on why something is really great, you can be trained very easily to bring that to life on TV. But if all you want to do is write, then I think that’s going to limit you.”

On the future for magazines, Williams said: ‘In the past, it was simple: you just write about stuff and they will come. You [now] have no guarantee that they will come. You have to work harder.”

Heat

The new website for Emap magazine Heat will be produced by the print magazine staff, in a sign of the new digital thinking at Emap.

HeatWorld.com, which launched this Tuesday, aims to become a UK-based one-stop shop for celebrity gossip. Emap has been working on a dummy for the last four months, with the site headed up by former Heat deputy editor Julian Linley.

Editor-in-chief Mark Frith said: ‘The staff who are doing the magazine are doing the website as well. And what you find is that it’s just using a different side of the brain. If a story comes into the office and we won’t be able to hold it until next Tuesday, we will run it on the website.”

There will be no crossover at all between content on the web and in the magazine and the audience will have access to staff blogs and videos in what Frith billed as ‘a real competitor to the daily tabloids for celebrity news”.

Worth Global Style Network

Emap signalled the extent to which it is embracing new media when it paid £140 million for online-only fashion news and analysis service Worth Global Style Network in October 2005.

The managing director of WGSN, Steve Newbold, said the company was launched in the 1990s when the fashion industry’s supply chain had gone global and the concept of ‘fast fashion’ – where retailers put out numerous collections throughout the year instead of two seasonal ones – had taken hold.

Broadband availability, and the ease with which high resolution images can be transmitted, means that WGSN contributors worldwide do not go anywhere without a digital camera. The WGSN archive has more than four million images.

Despite the changing landscape, Newbold said the old rules of the industry still applied. ‘Whatever your brands are, they need to be in strong and attractive growing markets which are scaleable. It still comes down to understanding your customer.”

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