Read this: Media Masters - James Wildman
Summary: PodcastDownload MP3 www.buzzsprout.comMedia Masters - James Wildman…
Media matters with Paul Blanchard welcome to media matters series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game after being headhunted from trinity mirror is also held senior positions at Yahoo and Virgin Media first UK is the publishers most important market outside the US and covers over 20 brands including l Harper's Bazaar cosmopolitan and good Housekeeping the publisher has a circulation of 4 million magazines a month and has 17 million UK Digital unique users James thank you for joining me.
Thank you for great to be here.
I struggled over 17 million unique disbelief that was quite a part for my inability to pronounce.
It is so you'd be forgiven for forgetting.
How many we had because his grandson incredibly quickly and that therefore we segway very neatly into my first question then 17 million 4 million in.
Quite impressive what it is impressive.
I suppose it depends what you look at where actually circulation more than 5.3 million magazines a month so you're across very money as you say 20 brands.
It's an extraordinary number but at the same time.
We are very quickly growing out of it a digital footprint and very many 4-way, so that's actually now I have January up to over 20 million.
So you your slightly out of date, but that's forgiven because it's her meteoric Rise he's going there such thing as exponential rendered their wee another mispronunciation.
Have you done that then? What's the secret sauce? So we've been through succession digital amongst other things an additional course is a massive opportunity for us because it's where our readers are increasingly looking to consumer consent and were fortunate that we have his lighthouse brands that they tried and tested something been around for a very great length of time so for example Harper's Bazaar 150 years old last year and good Housekeeping is only 3 years of being 100.
So you know we have you tried and tested and our ability to develop a digital footprint at scale is obviously Aided by the fact that we have these tremendously positive and trusted brands that act increasingly.
I think is you know as a good as a gravitational pull out in an in an ever more fragmented and some would say negative digital ecosystem, so it with extremely fortunate with we're doing the right things with writing the right content for our audience at the right time and on the right platform to a specifically writing for Snapchat and Facebook etc.
Not just our own sites and of course mobile very important for Us video becomes ever more important as a format so you know data that you having data informed decisions about editing commercially in digital is really important to so it's a digital is a broad Church with an enormous amount of different things to think about but yeah, we've with real Focus doing.
Doing the right things in fact.
It looks racing is one of our three key strategic Pillars that were delivering on very effectively now.
I don't know she lovely it's designed to be a pleasant experience not to do mean it but it's it's leisure time activity these these brands that are gravitating have therefore time off later time when you're at home relaxing you can read good Housekeeping and cosmopolitan at that that's exactly right.
We we we have a purpose of the Hurst which is to get more out of life and we can we see that is a yesterday.
Helpfully helpful aggregation of all eyebrows cos you're right to say what you know.
It's it's quite a complex business.
We have very many brands that are all doing exceptionally well in different ways and different genres and in idolizing different audiences, but the unifier if you like is this you no purpose to get more out of life because in have you all of our products all of our output all of our writing would have a journalism helps our respective leaders to get my live.ly so is running a marathon with runner's World it's baking a cake with good Housekeeping in a career or relation.
Relationship advice with the cosmopolitan getting the look without all of that incredibly gifted editors and journalists are helping out audience to get more out of life and that works equally well in both print and digital so I guess we we know that our content is being consumed in different ways printers for Morley near more relaxing as you say you know an hour typically spent with the magazine you let is an extraordinary.
You know the modern Media marketplace has an extraordinary length of time to have an uninterrupted solus Media time and ends with an increasingly valuable thing in an ever more cluttered world, so the only way we would with succeeding on the different platforms through different approaches to top of your to-do list at the moment questions a lot on the to-do list and you know I think.
The biggest challenge at Hurst is actually just a scale of the opportunity it and and I don't mean that to to be contrite the day was good that you update and talking it up rather than talk about send money to climb well.
I couldn't be more positive about the opportunity ahead of us, but the challenge I suppose if there is one is prioritisation because with all that opportunity comes a requirement to be very focused because what you know, what will we have almost 1000 people at Hurst in the UK working across all his very many fabulous brands.
We have different platforms.
We have also developed.
I think very effectively a very interesting diversified products and services around the brands which are really should growing fast now.
We're in top-line revenue growth which you know for us was a big pivotal point last year we had our inflection point in 2018.
Where we reverted back to growth, which was a you know a significant landmark for us after what must be said of many years of managing decline as you say so when a very different mindset now.
You know we've we've gone through that inflection point we now very focused on growth with delivering growth and we see huge opportunities almost everywhere.
We look whether that's in the digital advertising opportunity whether it's e-commerce whether it's experiential business which were growing fast with its content marketing licensing all of these price and services are helping us to develop a person to a marketing services business rather than what we used to be thought of as a magazine publisher and that's quite it's quite a significant transformation that we're undergoing and we're I would say a long way down that path but was still with plenty of Headroom in terms of where we can take it and that would be quite a challenge to come over even with your own staff in terms of the culture change reframing all of their.
Remind sets from one of the traditional magazine publisher to as you say it's affecting you a Media platform business.
That's a real as a lovely way of describing it because it's how I feel much feel about it.
So I think you know it wasn't that long ago that our business comprised and in fact.
I would even go as far as to describe the business that I arrived to was almost like twenty two businesses under One Roof every brand had it sooner had its own you know obviously its own P&L but also its own micro culture and its own leadership style and its own way of doing things that have been built up over many years and I think we felt very strongly that the opportunity was to create a platform almost like a in our consistent approach as single positive culture that could transcender brands not in any sense to domain or takeaway or distinctiveness in anyway erode their their distinctiveness which of course everything is built on The Importance and the paradise brands.
But that's been at that has the cultural transformation has been you know someone told anyway by the people who have been there a while.
It has been you know very exciting and you know I think we still got some whatever way to go, but we're putting significant investment into a learning and development programs and it said you know upskilling at people and equipping everyone for an increasingly digital future and Aladdin and actually putting a bit more fun back into the business.
I think we got a swagger back without ever being complacent or or or arrogant about it.
We're never going to be that but I feel that you know Hurst has it swagger back and it's so you know we're very proud of the achievements were made.
It will making and last year's assay, was nitwit was inflection point from a commercial point of view but it was also an extraordinarily important year for us because we we cleaned up at all of the industry Awards you know all of the journalism awards with the commercial Awards week.
You know we were voted camp.
Kings Media brand of the Year last year against the likes of ITV and Facebook and Google etc, so that was a real you know as far as the profile goes that was a highlight.
So you're quite a long way in a short space of time but with huge opportunity to go further and that Segways me onto my next question which is what's next in.
What are the what are there with the Next Steps going to be will be very nice and in some of their new business opportunities and in a Wii Fit Wii with with with very very positive about our events business First live for example now.
We have that's an extraordinary business and now we have 1.3 million people come to our events last year and the team there ran over 50 of them so we are averaging was once a week.
So it's a bit you know a lot big business.
We doubled our revenue last year into a sizable business, but we know we can do so much more so for example the team they live by Victoria Pollard OMD is developing that business into not just
Universe same business we were creating extraordinary events for our own brands like the Country Living fair of Esquire Townhouse or other Harper's Bazaar women of the Year Awards is a big and famous events that generate a lot of ticket sales revenue but also sponsorship income we now working on a white label basis for advertisers and laying on events in a phenomenal events for the party and that's extraordinaire minutes, so that means when are competing with specialist events agencies that have been around for a long while but we are leveraging the resources and see you either the capabilities of the expertise that we have within the business and Frankie little round strength mean.
I'm not going to be able to get you could cook but it certainly won't be as good as a cosmopolitan branded party.
Well, it would obviously they have their own brand so we you know if it will be last year we work with Timberland for example.
You're an early we operated an event for.
4 Timberland which was a huge success in Keighley timber love will save the day they have over their version of cosmopolitan, so it works just as well stealing your lunch there because it we have this problem on social media that black a lot of publishers complain about Facebook and goings on atletic and airline shares advertising I mean so you've got the good Housekeeping UK Facebook page for example your populating that with content you're paying the journalists but Facebook ethnic in the revenue.
What is it easy to grumble about the the digital ecosystem and it definitely favour duopoly who another platform business.
Have you know the most extraordinary scale but I think it's slightly more you want some that and it's really see it as very much as symbiotic relationship and with the part of the reason our brands are as successful as they are and they have the reach that they enjoy is because the distribution platforms the both Facebook and YouTube etc providers, so it's not that is too simplistic to say he is just unfair.
Devastating a lunch but it is true to say that the advertising market is waited very much and unfavourably towards the dominance of the duopoly and I know we were looking at some numbers the other day that suggest that in 2018.
You know pretty much half of the 22 billion pounds at spending the UK and advertising goes to just two companies face edit on Google that's incredible and we got Amazon just warming up and you know clearly an interesting proposition and there's lots to say about this and you know it's it's probably don't have time to do it.
Just as here but you know the reality is we need to compete and I feel very strongly that we can't compete we offer a very different proposition to Facebook for example and they might be cleaning up right now and they offer extraordinarily cheap cost of thousands and reach but they're offering her.
They're offering a solution which is very direct Response orientated and they've lent itself to the short termism is alive and kicking in the ad markets, but I must admit from the conversations that we're having a
Senior level with both advertisers and agencies that there will be a pendulum swing and was dying to see that now the concerns around some of the privacy cock up see you know the the brand safety the you know the fraud frankly that that was starting to see surfaced is giving advertisers paws for thought and you know if we had a conversation recently with senior Advertiser who was saying actually that their brand equity was starting to deteriorate and because of their pursuit of short termism and the incessant retargeting of a relatively small target audience looks pretty cost-effective in the short-term, but if that's done at the expense of long-term brand building advertising to start to say and erosion in the brand x in that's a huge problem.
So will say I think there's going to be a correction and we start to see that now.
We have where we receiving briefs from advertisers that increasingly used.
Trust and engagement and that's quite encouraging for us because that's something that sprouts been missing from a lot of advertisers briefs over the 30 years and I suppose it helps enormously that the brands that you you won't are positive brands that your readers want to engage with that they're not they're too.
It's not like a plumber way you said distress purchase and you want to buy a get them out.
If it's only right good news that has two exactly so what you know that we're writing for passion points we are writing for an extraordinarily engaged audience and we're only writing content to delete them, so we'll increases their dwell time of course which of course it does so you know our average average dwell time is that is over an hour you know with a magazine which is extraordinary in you know there's no ad blocking in magazines and there's no there's no second screen.
Reading makes you know that solis Media time is extremely valuable and we can we think we believe that magazine Media is under invested in by advertising generally takes a relatively small share of the oath of the advertising pie and I think we doing another better job at evidencing Wyatt is that more money should come our way and I had enough time for the privacy practices or magnetic that you know the BtoB trade body for magazines and suit of the chief executive of their who's who's a force of nature in extraordinary talented person has just fronted some really really strong research actually about attention and you know we've done this.
This is a an academic study and working with PhD and they're planning team and it's and it's basically finds proves that in a magazines enjoys her could double the attention of average Media had a very effective price point so I think we just need.
Get better at marketing and media YouTube to be blunt and I think we got plenty of reasons to be extraordinarily positive about it and how is your relationship with the advertisers changed over the years of example 10 years ago someone might have just taken a one page and it wasn't looking for a page in the print edition, but she mentioned Timberlake before wedding might want to to have some kind of event because you know that you have a type of brands that advertise it might want to associate with it's a very good question and again you know we're fortunate.
We have a unique proposition for the couple of the conversation.
We're increasing having with advertisers or more strategic and sophisticated and longer-term partnership in there.
Are you there in the in their sense and is your brands could give them a halo effect exactly right and in fact they do and we're increasing the packaging.
You look different products and services for example ghir accreditation business which is
Which is going from strength to strength? We know last year we tested nearly 3000 products throughout our Laboratories and the accreditation endorsement business that we run off the back of that is very interesting so we we might be talking to an Advertiser about that and it's in her they want to extend that into a high you know high impact in a marketing campaign which was clearly we haven't the most extraordinary marketing platform their brands and websites you know we might be talking about content creation for them throughout content marketing agency first content agency and we working with brands as you know as diverse as Asda and Procter and Gamble and O2 now in terms of creating content for them and distribution that content planes are strengths within doing it for very many years in both print and digital and being experts a distribution that im contents example.
We do week.
We produce ASDA's Monthly magazine we run all of their social we create their recipes and most recently we've even
Two television adverts for their George brand you know so had a relationship with that extra brilliant company, is it sort of mushroom into a very interesting space where we doing increasing amount of content creation for them.
So he's very lucky with experiential becomes ever more important to advertise as it's where you know younger people want to that's fine time and share their experiences and with uniquely placed to help brands moving to an experiential space.
So there's so many areas of our business that we can leverage to deliver ever more engaging and valuable Solutions that are much the direction of travel to add.
You know we think about solver not sell we talk to advertisers about last year for example great example.
I'd love to just talked briefly about his we launched our first Country Living hotels.
So this is taking a brand which is absolutely trust her.
Country Living is about my mum's red ever since I was about 3, so have you I would hope in the country, but these hotels are literally like you walk into a hotel in our country of the hotel is what in Bath this one in Harrogate as more to come and it's like walking into the pages of the magazine and our editorial team doubled up as the interior decoration consultants to the renovation program that these hotels so that's an extraordinary deleveraging a brand similarly we sell house beautiful sofas at DFS is rogue.
One of the best-selling Rangers so was saying how you know did the strength and you know the power of these brands can be leveraged into very interesting you areas for mutual benefit.
That's very exciting for us and it sounds like you're moving into it a genuine partnership with these people you not rather than you know in the old days will simply just ring up and just order a page advert now.
You're actually house beautifully.
Selling their own selfish to DFS that's really are opportunity because we can different week, but I still think about business has positively differentiated within the industry.
We can we have recourse the most extraordinary Marten platform.
That's created by some of the most trusted iconic brands in British Media but it's really the way that I mean that that's almost like a given number.
I don't want to be I don't even anyway want to be complacent about that, but you know that's fabulous that we reach you know nearly 20 million people in the UK and where a strong platform to build amazing, but I think it's the ways in which we can you know help solve marketeers challenges in a much more interesting way there.
This is you say a few years ago.
We would only have been talking about space in space magazines websites etc.
So you know that that's a highly commoditized trade and that conversation has moved from that we still do a lot of that and it's still enormous m.
This within the business about inner maximising air gonna print share and share of the digital pie but over and above that we working far more collaboratively now with our customers and partnership.
Apps are the only one who said after we said that I stole around partnership and I think that's you know who it would perhaps uniquely able to do that, but it's late paying paying dividends and we're going for nominal feedback from the industry in terms of how we're in a how was selling ourselves up for Success how we are increasingly partner in the winning plaudits is a say we we cleaned up at the Awards last year and that's that's really encouraging cos it's just were on the right on the right path so more of that.
We think I'm really see you've got house beautiful magazine.
You might run a comparative that suffer review feature where there's going to be suffered some other manufacturers, but there's also going to be a house beautiful sofa in that house beautiful comparative review of sofas.
Is the slight blurring of the Chinese walls tutorial I would say is absolutely not so there is a the church and state is alive and alive and well, so we would never undermine and take out at brand integrity newsreaders if you did that we would of course we would lose our readers.
We would lose trust and given that the trust has been built up over many decades in most of our hands cases, so that's not ever going to happen.
So but we do advertise DFS sofas across all about brands, but it's very clearly and an advertisement so there is no as with any media company there is a creative tension of course and that's very healthy and we work with some of the most commercial editorial Talent that there is in the industry.
I think because a lot of are a lot of are you know I would say more exciting ideas have come through the editorial things are made they designed the sofas they came up with the in about the Country Living hotel concept and there's a lot more.
All of those sorts of ideas being worked on currently which will come to the for this year, so yeah, it's a bit but we would never know this isn't journalism for hire in a checkbook journalism in the sense that you might you might you might associate with other other outlets but you know to know absolutely not what keeps you up at night insomnia and Round Up All Night 5 Live Rochford asleep.
Very soundly because I've got no problem very sound asleep.
So yeah, we got plenty going on with you know I think I I I feel that I am very fortunate to be a stimulators.
I am alone we often you know when I want to set reminder management table.
We talk about the you don't add challenges.
It always comes back to the how we going to get everything done.
You know what because as I said earlier there were so many opportunities.
We just got to get really discipline and ensure that we we hold each other to account with focus on the right things and you know don't turn into whirling dervishes and overly excited about you know the scale of the opportunity and I think we're getting better at really hunkering down on some of these are we clear a better strategy.
We've got three key Pillars which is grow print share both in advertising and you stand Hermes digital acceleration huge body of work, but making massive progress in that sense and revenue diversification and we're doing very well there in terms of the licence in the product that you know then and some of the other services that were developing so I think you know we're organise now around those three pillars and that Focus is allowing us to make real headway.
I mean revenue diversification seems a sensible business strategy.
Where do whatever business you may require eggs in one basket.
Do you know we love our advertisers and you know we we feel very strongly that that we can.
Grow a advertising revenue but we would be crazy to rely on that and you know necessity being the mother of all invention that handle at 11 to and knowing that we got brands that we can leverage in ways that you know perhaps.
You know not enough or sway.
It's got a bit of natural and you know if we if we invest wisely and we focus on the right things.
We can you know we can have a transformative effect on our on our business and that's now starting to come come to the fore see you love it feels fortunate to move into content marketing creating in a content and district in that content for third party seems very natural cos we've been doing that at the for ourselves for very many years in both print and digital so you know that seems like an obvious thing to do and so it's proven.
You know similarly our events business taking on white label is a natural extension to what we were doing for ourselves already so all.
Things are slowly and licences fascinating Argos is best selling home gym range is men's Health and I would but it's United just focusing it is bringing us very significant return it must be a challenge as well because you are men's Health fair your writing about gym equipment and then now you having to partner with a gym equipment manufacturing put your Brand on it and if they let you down in some way if there's a product recall or someone injures themselves and then you're going to suffer brain damage and ultimately you're the one with the most to lose really so we have to be extraordinarily careful with who we partner with Pam and you know the provenance of product mean.
It was a fascinating journey with the Country Living hotels, because clearly there was some Tension between a hotel business and a publishing business that held it's brand very very dear and some of those conversation.
Is around you know what what was economical for the hotel and what was a brand requirement from Country Living men's made for some fairly.
You know challenging conversations and we have to pick our way through that and we've landed at a great place and both are both up at commercial partner is delighted with the way their business has transformed as a result of the rebrand and we're very happy with it as well, but it went to say it was a straightforward process would be probably exaggerating it someone but anything worth doing you know it was never necessarily easy was it so yeah, so the brands are absolutely critical and and we must do everything we can to protect them, so we're not going to cut corners.
We're not going to put you know one of them out.
You know they return to the retailer to sell substandard sofas for example that carry our brand and that the extended very many different product range is now chief executive.
What do you actually do? What is a typical?
Week, cos you don't you mentioned earlier about all the very things that you can do it there so many aspects that you have responsibility for the Innocence every single thing you choose to focus on in any one moment could come at the expense of something else, so what is a typical working week an how do you divide your time? It's a question and the sum of my team would ask the Bruce that that's exactly what does he wanted around for meeting to me.
There's a lot of that.
I tried very hard to stay external.
You know I've grown up on the media side of the business and and all my friends are on the agency and advertiser side so I think it's important that I am an ambassador for a business so I but I do know what I work hard to ensure that I carve out time to Outwood looking at yesterday.
I think of myself as chief cheerleader for her because I think there's an amazing story to be told and I like telling it.
So you know I die.
I like I like doing that much I have to do that but you know we have.
We wear a complex business for not the biggest media company in the world Hurst as a corporation is a huge company obviously clove oil in an NBA team off.
It is indeed and has diversified extraordinary as I'm sure you know massive global business huge in the US especially and you should be part of that privately owned prophet highly profitable company but we are a cat in the UK with a relatively complex business because we're multiple brand with multiple products and services with F I have a lot of senior people you know I think a lot of my job is cultural so how do we get people to work as effectively and positively as possible and you know that's that's about in the hearts and minds and insuring the communicating well and we're keeping people have praised and with you know we're working hard to ensure that were creating her in a working environment a culture that is you know that enables people to do their very best work, so I take that very seriously we have Xtra
Mary Talent in the business and I'm not in every respect regardless whether that's our editorial output digital KNOWHOW data people had finance with wait what you working necessary in a very matrixed way involves effort in Owen and pulling people together and insuring that we're you know delivering in a to the mutual dependency is it is is critical so I spend a lot of time.
I would say doing that and just helping people and trying to you know encourage everyone to be there very best that they can be so you know we worry about the numbers with worry about the output.
We worry about the products.
We are about the brands in this.
There's there's a lot of worry.
I don't worry to be honest because with wearing free safehands.
You know where we we have people who have in a week.
We have an extraordinary business actually in terms of the profile.
We have five Generations under One Roof which he must be pretty unique so we have
You know some extraordinarily gifted long-term service who know a business inside out.
We have you know a huge number of a new joiners which we work hard to attract strong Talent at the younger age and you know a lot of digital millennial in a digital natives millennials within the business Russell is culturally it's very interesting that you know week catering for so many different United groups and interests as well of course because you know people come to hers to work on brands, because they're passionate about those brands and that and that content genre so yeah, it's it's it's it's a very stimulating place to work.
How does it work internationally cuz obviously the UK is is one piece in each year nationally X or do you have to go to the US once a month to like account for the numbers and you fight with the other ceo's of other your other territories in other countries.
Is it like that scene Anchorman Ron Burgundy news team fight with the other?
Local anchors sorry to disappoint you but no not at all.
So I go to this I go to the States occasionally, it's not every month but I go I go reasonably regularly and my boss.
Would I report to Troy Young sits in New York at headquarters? We enjoy an extraordinary amount of autonomy actually so as long as we deliver and we run by but you know as a business of course so we deliver our budgets and we've been I think because of the trajectory were on in the fact that with delivering growth and budget etc.
It builds trust and we are left to get on with what it is that we we want to do we have with were extraordinarily well supported a particularly and digital because I was in digital world is flat.
We have very significant resource in New York in Ed Edd Eddy head headquarters which were increasingly able to Leverage which is which is very helpful, but yeah, we have we have business in very many countries around the around the world and you know the UK is the biggest market outside the US
And we have businesses in Italy which is extremely important obviously for the fashion industry based in Milan we have a Spanish business Dutch business and interest in Germany and then in Asia and Russia and sit around the globe and occasionally the ceo's to get together and we have a we we have we have fun and you know it is not competitive that sense though.
We feel very collaborative very collaboratively producing content which gets picked up and syndicated around the world.
There's a very effective content management system with spoonbill and proprietary Hurst which allows us to more more efficiently share the best output from from the global business which it you know it which works ever ever gonna stay with me feel very stitched into a global business, but I enjoy greater autonomy and and support from from head office and sometimes yet.
You have to face commercial reality with the decline of certain brands because I know you closed reveal PCSO
Somebody's 18% of 40 think that that was that was social media Instagram that is kind of killed off that celebrity weekly.
I'm not sure that that was the reason to be honest with you and it's interesting is all that you need that one in particular celebrity celebrity news is particularly challenged on the new standards.
It is it's arguably oversupply there a great deal of of magazines that serving that particular niche in the market and clearly with digital in the life of MailOnline etc.
That kind of content is readily available for free in a in Multiple outputs and in a wee founded, Blackburn frankly difficult to you know to stay in that particular browser very great share my last thing we want to do is close anything with boy very keen to be growing a business, but no, I don't think it's necessary specifically social media.
I just think that the media marketplace has become increasingly fragmented and you know there are certain types of content.
Which are more readily available you know digitally than others and that's what we found with which celebrity first moves when you see it was to relocate the housing employees they have to be there Leicester Square off in a house of Hearst improve the performance was challenging logistically but I think the benefit is immeasurable.
Just having our old told officers that we've been in there were two first of all there were two separate buildings, so that was unhelpful not having the company under One Roof and it kind of it is to reinforce the sense the scent of silos and brand by Brand by Brand the multiple floors in different buildings and it it felt a bit dated and tired to be honest.
We've been that we've been in those buildings for 40 years and it felt every day that old and it just wasn't it wasn't conducive to a modern forward facing technology enables collaborative Media
So the move wasn't just an up sticks and carry on as we were it was a transformation in terms of how we worked and you know we've gone agile with move to open plan.
There are no what forces would you know was quite a big change for a lot of people but the feedback I've had and its consentual has been overwhelmingly positive and people just bumping into each other now.
We have you know we have collaborative space.
We have a Hangout with people can just go and be no work in a very informal way.
We have a library of people want to go and sit and wait rare archival just sit quietly and reflect we have a you know it's much more impressive reception area so there's much more collaboration within the business has been stimulated by the working environment and we did feel so much more positive play Somewhere right slap bang in the middle of London where on Leicester Square in one of the most iconic buildings.
Yellow above LEGO if anyone's interested and stunts the way from my office it.
Would you go what you're very welcome will roll out the red carpet anytime you like to get that on movie finding a lot more visitors wanting to just pop by a great environment spray Lydon brides, and it's a statement of intent for us at it.
It really is another time when other businesses.
Are you know moving out and looking United sustainability.
We are you know we've invested in a long-term lease.
We know that our business.
Is you know in rude health and going to go from strength to strength and we've we've created what we believe to be heard.
You know real magnet for Talent and weird with finding that increasingly the case good Housekeeping is the UK's biggest selling magazine as other half a million readers.
How do you make interestingly more now than 10 years ago? Why do you think that's fascinating quality? It's about you know I don't think you know we have a very strong print strategy which is a row.
Quality and it's actually more for more.
Do you know we've invested in a product but my question was interestingly.
It was when is Liza changing so much for a house? How do you maintain that relevance because it essentially become more relevant then if you've if you're increasing your readership which means you must have involved with your reader's.
Yes, we sure and brands have to stay relevant.
Don't they so, I do that will you would have to be much better off asking the editor on that because she's far more qualified than I am but you're not our editorial teams are extraordinarily extraordinary connected to a readership and a you know they have fabulously deep inside and we you know we have our everyday Pantry design examples numbers 43000 people which are you allowed? Is this very very valuable in a two-way interactions.
We we know.
What's you know what you want their concerns.
Are we know what they want to be in a reading about and and so we superserve.
That specifically so the relevance thing is you know that I would say that good Housekeeping the numbers bear this out is as relevant now as it was 97 years ago, when it launched but of course it's had to adapt and it's had two you don't move with the times and I think all about brands.
Do that necessarily so I know you want want to but could you pick a favourite title? Haha that's a very unfair question and it's like I'm asking what your favourite child is and I could never have a favourite child.
I suppose I naturally lean into the light of a squire which I have to say I couldn't be more proud of him and it's relaunched just in the last few weeks and its first New Look is she was out now for March and that's I suppose my go-to.
I've always read it anyway.
I'm in long time that predates my starting at Hurst men's Health I've got very in Tehran as well as a year ago when I ran my first marathon graduation.
Thank you and I'm probably their biggest fan because they were the ones that there.
That was their training schedule which got me get got me round twice now in fact with III on the horizon.
So yes all about brands of Extraordinary and I recognise it to do for their respective leadership, but now I can't have a favourite flowers with men's Health like a look at the the front cover and I'll be inspired by in January to give us a ring me.
I would have 8 pack out and then by Mike and the Mechanics a time and look at their with the Rat Pack absolutely spell swept away the Old Guard House Hurst doing in that regard was a fantastic and simoleons and Esquire we would be exactly same in that sense diversity and inclusion is a hugely important area for us and we've put her a very significant Focus
On it and without a steering committee and with resource that and it comes from the very top at within hurts because we know that has media companies are highly influential media company have product has to reflect Society and I think increasingly it does we we've got a very strong approach to to hiring from an increasingly diverse and community and being 80% women of course with a business ostensibly by women for women with equality extremely seriously as well, so it's a it's a big subject.
It's something that we've got to go further and harder on and we are totally focused and committed to doing so James tell us a bit about your personal journey.
You were born at an early age you now sitting in this chair.
What was the journey? What did he study? What did you want to do when you you know started a new career? Did you always anticipate that you would be a kind of ultra Powerful
Esceo no, I didn't I never thought that of course not I am I didn't think I'll be working you mean.
I don't even know the resistive actually as I went to college.
I did business studies as a degree and I fell into a sales at sales at my first job was with TVs the precursor of meridian one of the alveoli long time before consolidation into one ITV who is 2A TVs at one point of various configurations and media geek are all sold separately and Channel 4 didn't exist now.
I remember Channel 4 launching yeah there you go and then it out as a separate sales team and then obviously that industry.
25 years has transformed our recognisably with the arrival of multi-channel and Sky and you and I have transformed and recognise started I worked my way around very many different television businesses.
I was you know I do I worked for GMTV I work for I work for Sky with a Universal Studios networks little-known are branded up at a company called flextech which through various iterations became owned by telewest which word goes with NTL become Virgin Media and actually we were the television business of the cable platform in the UK and rebranded as Virgin media television and I ran the sales business or Virgin Media and that represented everything from the UK TV channels the joint venture with BBC worldwide right the way through tomorrow Brown brands like living and bravo etc.
Ultimately that, dated in a sale in a we're almost victims of Road success and Virgin decided to optimise their the advertising consolidation premium associated brands, do not understand what they're living in particular and and we closed in Sky Living the business that I ran which was called IDS which was a sales business folded and wee wee closed and the add the ad sales contract for UKTV move to Channel 4 sales and the brands that sky booked obviously were embraced by sky sales and so the consolidation continued and there was one less sales point in television and I at that point move to Yahoo to run Yahoo in the UK and Ireland which was a great move for me.
I knew I needed to work in the digital.
Play and understand that market Lil bit better.
I was there for three and a half years on me for
Next trinity mirror where I enjoyed a fabulous 2/2 years and it was very much for the turnaround business as well.
You know your bracing the opportunity that was digital with a stand Canary Wharf yes working in to Simon fox.
Love my timer trinity mirror but when first came calling it was a bit of a no-brainer because you know huge opportunity and so it's proven.
You know when was 2 years in now.
I couldn't be more happy as I feel very much as I've arrived at my spiritual home.
I'm you know I die.
I feel very privileged to be doing what I'm doing.
What was there one line ask her if you're allowed to say when they hired you and it said right.
You're hired someone presumably with grey hair and a moustache said to you.
This is what this is a TopLine better.
We want you to deliver always they're not there.
Was it just get on with it.
There was a sense in the UK I think was a little unfair but it wasn't there was a sense that we with that UK had lost its way little bit that you know and you know that it was a particularly difficult time that I think I might I mean has been.
Because the few years before my liver hurts will particularly challenge.
Do you know that the with the avenue was in decline? I think circulations Runner travel Under Pressure ETC in and some very difficult to see as we're having it would being made around restructuring and you know cost management etc.
So it was it was tough so you know that I think the business needed some loving it needed some you know it's likely a slight change in in in town and Direction and a more positive footing and a return to growth frankly so it if there was one thing it was you I would like we're going to a support you but would like you to return Hurst to growth, and that's what we done and it's not United score a little to do with me and everything to do with you know the Talents and the energy in the Inn at the entrepreneurial spirit that exist within the business bedtime yet, so that was it really it was good.
I would like you to come and help us turn it around and this isn't a job interview cos obviously you've got the job, but you know what qualities do you bring to the role?
Is it is it hard working mentioned there about engendering and entrepreneurial spirit for example? I think that already existed it in the business it just what you need.
I suppose it's Harnessing that has been fun United and giving people permission almost too you know do their best work.
I don't know this isn't it? Did it this may not be a job interview this feels very much like it Paul and I'm not sure what maybe I think I'm really good at doing things together and and and and helping people you know the end until confidence.
I've got some strong relationships it in the industry, which it would be no I'm not I'm happy to Unilever region and call on.
United I don't know I'm annoyed that.
I think it I am a team player and I sort of feel very strongly that we will succeed or fail as a team so if I did I bring anything I suppose it's that emphasis on teamwork and fascinated by leadership roles because you know your personal qualities.
Would you say it's like hard work for example? What is it that she is it a sense of ambition? What is it? That's got you too.
You know it's selling selling probably be driven, and I'm not too sure if I'm not sure why I like pushing myself and put the marathon running.
Is is a little bit of that.
I think you're out of comfort zone and you know just seeing what you're capable of and I don't know how but there's no survey plans as such I didn't saw the sea town centre news time.
I'd like to be as it was just so happened organically I've been very lucky.
I genuinely think locks got a huge meant to play that you needed to play in that but
I work hard and and I've I've always worked hard.
I quite like you know when I wish you were here, but I play hard as well and I enjoyed though, you know the fun side of life and work and and and bring some fun into the you know unit into everything that I do I try to see yeah, so yeah, I don't want I don't really know people ask it is Alina what gets out of bed on a morning and the truth is for me is I don't have a reason I get out of bed cos I want to get up in April stuff to do but I don't overthink it.
Would I have to get out of bed in the morning to get in the shower before my kids get up I have to beat them to a older ones about formulae now, so it's so girls.
Can I have doing some research for this beef about having on as a guest and that I read that your advice to your younger self was buy shares in Apple Google and Facebook as soon as you have done some research then haven't you advice to younger self? How funny that you're probably get them for temporal insider trading actually if I want some.
Travel put any loose change you had into that stock when you could have well.
There's always that they're that Taylor gets out their hugely exaggerated Wright the guy who painted and decorated Facebook's first officers.
Have you made any mistakes along the way already learning outcomes were yes, I think so, but no nothing that's so it would have been has proved to be retrieved by minute.
I could go back in time machine to sort of your 18 year old self and yet 60 seconds other than telling them telling him to buy certain shows, what would you actually say don't do this more of that worked hard at school and college.
I wasn't a great stew and I've worked hard since but I didn't get as much out of the Education as I should have done and I look at my children who were hard-working in academic and I wonder what might have happened had I been then I haven't got any regrets at all actually.
I feel as though I've had a child existence and not make continue.
And I'm sure that you want to be in the position for a long time but like another hope the whole presidential tradition of the the the previous president leaves a letter to his successor.
Whenever there is a success of the what would be in that letter to your success.
It was her interesting so perfect and I mean it hurts because it's a family run business with the most extraordinary rich Legacy there is a very strong sense of family that runs through the culture and they're all night.
I feel a sense of responsibility actually to to that Legacy so it is all about the brand.
It's all about you know you look after you.
Look after the business.
You look after the brand you look after the people and those things will look after the business so I thought you know if that it is a continuation.
I think I'm I'm I'm following the footsteps of them very great leaders who over the years.
Have you been synonymous in fact Terry Mansfield I will mention who was a bit of a legend of the industry when I
Join the industry is still part of first and this month in fact Mark his 50th birthday with the company which isn't it which is why wasn't it? And you know we're very proud of that fact and he's an ambassador for the business and you know that that should give you a sense of you know of just how you know extraordinary the company is and when you look back at your career.
What's what's the best thing you've ever done? What is the thing that you done that you most proud of is there a single day that you can point to our a single achievement that that still resonates now many many years later.
Oh my goodness.
It's a good question is an amazing question but I did you know what I'm I'm kind of I'm I can't think of anything in 14 so privileged to do some of the most extraordinary things I know that I can't I feel much fraudulent given.
How lucky I've been and they are many and you know that some of the people I can't I've got to hang out with some of the experiences that I've had the places.
Been there the proudest moment without sounding limits got a bit probably getting the job that im in currently because that was a big that that was a big step for me.
I'd not being a CEO before I not have responsibility for United so many people and different personality types and quite so much talent ever before so that have the job next whenever you choose to live on.
Can you put in a word? I'm more than happy to let you get on brilliant Deerhurst so I think the proudest moment I was a big job.
I was extraordinary proud when Hurst One media brand of the Year last year I mean in in in this one of the Oscars of the media industry for us to be for us to be cold out ahead of all other media companies in the land that was an extraordinary proud moment because it meant that we come an awful long way and with the perception of our business has changed it in a very real way in Ennis
What space of time and that's what I'm most proud of James thank you for making the time for doing this.
It's been a very interesting conversation has really great her.
Thank you for having a right angles podcast in association with big things Media
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