Jun 11, 2019

Exclusive: Digiday expands


Digiday Media, the eleven-year old digital media trade publication, is adding a third brand called "Modern Retail," which will exist across all revenue streams, including advertising, events, newsletters, digital and subscriptions.

Why it matters: Digiday Media is good example of how a digital media company can scale while remaining niche. "You can be small but be big by staying focused," says founder and CEO Nick Friese. "We've been a profitable media company over the last seven years," says Friese.

The big picture: Modern Retail becomes the third major franchise within the Digiday Media family. It follows the 2016 launch of Glossy, a fashion and beauty media brand that focuses on the intersection of technology and fashion and luxury brands.

  • The company currently operates in the U.S. and the U.K., and has a content partnership with a Japanese news company that supports Digday's Japanese-language site.
  • The flagship Digiday brand focuses on digital media, advertising and publishing. Glossy covers on beauty and fashion. Modern retail will cover the intersection of commerce, social media and digital.
  • The company also has a content studio/agency that creates videos, papers, ebooks, podcasts, etc. called "Custom" and a high-level events business called "Gather."

Details: The new franchise will be lead by Hilary Milnes, who helped lead Glossy and has been leading Digiday's retail coverage for nearly a year. She will be joined by Digiday retail reporter Anna Hensel, and plans to hire more reporters as the vertical grows.

  • Modern Retail, like Digiday and Glossy, will focus on helping people working in and alongside a particular industry — in this case retail— to provide need to know to do their jobs and stay on the cutting edge of the industry’s ongoing overhaul, according to Milnes.
  • From the start it will feature a daily newsletter, as well as two industry summits and a full-day event, as well as digital coverage. Executives plan to build a subscription product around Modern Retail soon.

Between the lines: "A lot of dynamics we're seeing in modern retail are similar to those that we saw in the early days of digital publishing," says Digiday Editor in Chief Brian Morrissey.

  • "You have legacy players retooling their business because of digital. Then you have venture capital-backed newcomers, as well as these giant platforms that are completely wrecking business models. It's a new area but we’ve seen this movie before."

Be smart: Digiday Media is a rarity in today's rocky digital media climate. The company was initially self-funded, and hasn't raised any venture capital money. As a result, it's been able to grow strategically at its own pace.

By the numbers: According to Friese, all five of Digiday Media's business units (advertising, subscriptions, events, awards, custom content) are 7 to 8 figures in revenue.

  • The company's subscription business is expected to reach over $2 million projected for 2019 after launching roughly a year ago.
  • "Subscriptions is our highest growth area," says Friese. "Within twelve months, we've built a seven-figure subscription business."
  • Friese says that Digiday's goal is to reach 100,000 paying subscribers that will pay between $395 to $595 annually to regularly read content.

Editor's note: This piece was corrected to show Digiday's goal is to reach 100,000 subscribers who will pay $395 to $595 per year (not $3.95 to $5.95 monthly).

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