10 Questions With … Troy Young, President, Hearst Magazines Digital Media

If ever there were a daunting position out there, it just might be the one Troy Young holds. Young is the president of Hearst Magazines Digital Media—and as such, he directs the digital strategy of one of the largest magazine publishing companies in the world. With digital strategy being what many see as the path to the future, one could say the very future of the company rests on his shoulders.

Of course Young isn’t operating alone, but he has a hefty responsibility and extremely significant role in shaping the company’s digital progress. He oversees the digital content, technology, operations, product and business development strategies for the magazine division’s 26 online brands—including Cosmopolitan, Elle, Elle Decor, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire and Seventeen, as well as several digital-only sites, such as Delish.com. In addition to being responsible for a bucketful of major brands, all of these brands’ together draw 60 million unique visitors and 640 million page views monthly, which makes Young’s imperative that much more grandiose.

Young’s background is a mixture of roles from various sides of the publishing arena. He was formerly president of digital publishing company Say Media—perhaps best known for its women’s lifestyle brand xoJane, now with 6 million monthly visitors, according to Say Media’s website—where he grew the company to $100 million in revenue, as his bio states.

Before that, he was the “chief experience officer” of the Omnicom digital agency Organic, “advising on strategy and creating award-winning work for clients including American Express, Virgin Mobile, Sirius XM, Chrysler and Bank of America” (also per his bio).Cosmo_Screen Shot

His background seems to have culminated in this relatively new position at Hearst Magazines Digital Media—which he took on about a year ago and where his efforts focus on engaging consumers with content and advertising, and mapping a way forward through the era of the mobile screen. His M.O. is upping the publishing game from months to moments, a phrase he apparently uses quite frequently.

mediaShepherd caught up with Young to talk about the opportunities that lie ahead for Hearst Magazines Digital Media and other media brands, what’s new and exciting at the digital pinnacle of Hearst Tower, what keeps him awake at night, and more.

mediaShepherd: What is Hearst Magazines Digital Media’s fastest-growing revenue segment?

Troy Young: By category, fashion and beauty.

mS: What is its largest revenue segment?

TY: I don’t know off the top of my head. Across the company, it’s probably fashion and beauty as well. Cars is big, too.

By type of advertising, probably big integrated deals and content marketing.

mS: What is the biggest challenge Hearst Magazines Digital Media is facing right now?

TY: I would say the biggest challenge is creating … the right culture to support a vital digital business—and that is one that integrates product thinking, technology, content and advertising into one cohesive group. That’s been our focus to make that happen since I arrived. It is about recruiting wonderful, creative technologists and building on all the success the company had before I arrived. It’s about creating a new generation of content creators that thrive on minute-by-minute publishing—[who] are “of the Internet.”

It’s about building an advertising competency that understands how to live in this new world of native. But to me it’s a cultural thing. It’s all about talent.

mS: From what I understand, Hearst separates out its print properties from its digital properties from a business perspective. Why is this?

TY: You know, I get asked that question a lot. I think that what you want to do is set up your your business and your …

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Industry Update: Penton Launches Govalytics; NAPCO Names New President

Continuing a strategy of new product development around data assets, Penton has announced the launch of Govalytics, which captures and analyzes information on city and county governments in the 25 largest metro areas in the U.S.

Designed for use primarily by marketers selling products and services to municipalities, the product provides budgetary data, information on current and planned capital projects, bond ratings, recent news, contact information for top city officials and detailed descriptions of municipal departments and their functions.

The most challenging aspect of the service was creating useful comparative data for a wide range of government types and city services, Ben Walker, Director of Brand Management for Govalytics, said in a press release.

“Normalization was our task, and our solution enables the user to effectively benchmark a government’s expenditures, debt, capital assets and departments to others its size across the nation,” he said.

The service is designed to help vendors tap into the $3 trillion annual market for municipal contracts and services, as well as allow cities themselves to do comparative analysis of other municipalities with similar circumstances or challenges.

“Govalytics provides marketers with the critical intelligence and workflow tools needed to navigate the complicated government sector and win more business,” Gregg Herring, Vice President and Public Infrastructure Market Leader at Penton, said in the release.

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool was developed out of resources within in the company’s Public Infrastructure market group, which includes longstanding government sector media brands American City & CountyGovernment Product NewsGovProWaste 360 and other properties and events.

New York-based Penton has moved aggressively into data products across multiple market sectors. In the company’s Healthy Lifestyle division, natural products industry product tracker NextTrend and small business start-up data program NextAccelerator are recent high-profile additions to the New Hope Natural Media family of brands.

“We look at the Accelerator and Trend products not as augmented products to existing products, but as putting a fourth leg of the stool on the ground: in print, in person, data and services.” New Hope Natural Media President Fred Linder told mediaShepherd recently.


New Leadership at NAPCO

Philadelphia-based North American Publishing Company, publisher of Printing Impressions, Target Marketing and a number of other B2B titles including Publishing Executive and Book Business, has announced the naming of David Leskusky as company president. Leskusky, most recently group president of NAPCO’s Promo Marketing publishing division, succeeds Ned Borowsky, who is stepping down after 30 years at the helm to become vice-chairman alongside his father, company founder Irving Borowsky.

Ned Borowsky, who in recent years has guided the company’s diversification into multimedia and data-driven products and services, said in a press release that Leskusky will “lead NAPCO’s transformation into a marketing services powerhouse that is not dependent on magazine revenue, but rather on monetizing every channel where our audience consumes content.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to now lead this exceptional organization and succeed Ned, who guided us brilliantly through this recent period of evolution,” Leskusky said in the release.  “I see a bright future ahead for NAPCO—especially in events and video—and those will be my top priorities.”…

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