New York magazine is launching an in-house branded content studio, a survival strategy employed by a growing number of publications as digital platforms transform the media environment.
In the traditional media world, such a move by a well-regarded magazine might have signaled a lack of integrity. But today, media brands must move beyond the content that once made them successful. L2’s Intelligence Report: Media Winners & Losers finds many older media outlets weighed down by their failure to invest in alternative revenue models.
Meanwhile, many of the Winners named in that study, such as The New York Times and BuzzFeed, have remained competitive by investing in their own branded content studios. What they create often has the same production value as editorial content, although it is clearly labeled differently: for example, The New York Times published a paid article on “Orange is the New Black.” In February, BuzzFeed named its first executive creative producer to create new types of content for brands – signaling an increased commitment to the strategy.
Native ads and custom execution already generate one-third of New York’s digital ad revenue. By expanding that business, the publisher can make the brand’s value proposition more attractive to advertisers, putting New York in the ranks with The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and the other Winners in L2’s study.
“The creation of this studio means that we can go out here with native ideas to sell and to execute,” publisher Larry Burstein told Ad Age. “We have this really robust brand business, and we felt that we could add this on to it and expand our offering to advertisers.”