Christie Hefner graced us with her presence on Wednesday, kicking off the event with a quick background story. Publishing was expanding in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s when she climbed the ranks at Playboy. Once she became CEO, her biggest concern was “leveraging the brand and style of content in other forms of media.” Playboy was the first mag to successfully expand their brand online back then. Pretty impressive considering magazines are still struggling with it today!
From the start, Playboy created the website as a business opportunity, not just a promotion for their print version. Christie noted that magazines “that can live beyond their pages” are the only publications that can become brands.
She pointed out how the new challenge in the mag industry is packaging content in unique ways and to think about how people access information, especially on mobile devices. Magazine editors are also going to have to start deciding what content to charge for online. She compared online mags to games: Millions of people pay for free, but a percentage is willing to pay for the premium.
Christie’s prediction is that, in the future, there may be fewer magazines, but readers will end up paying more for a combination of print and online content. She has faith that people are bonded to the magazines they love so there is nothing to worry about!
Ed’s lovin’ Christie Hefner’s optimism! She thinks us journalism students will be entering the mag world at a very exciting time!
–By Ashlee Davis