Publishing

As video revenues grow, Hearst looks to capitalize with Clevver Media acquisition

As publishers maneuver through the challenges posed by digitization, many are building on their strengths and brand value to evolve in new directions. A little over a year back, Hearst Magazines opened a new 26,000-square-foot video and multimedia production studio in New York making it clear that it was looking at videos as a significant source of revenue.

Now the publisher has acquired pop-culture news brand Clevver from Defy Media, which shut down in November. The deal adds Clevver’s YouTube audience of over 15 million subscribers to Hearst magazines’ monthly audience of around 128 million.

“Premium video that super-serves our audience”

According to a Hearst spokeswoman, “Clevver’s content entertains and engages more than 15 million subscribers. This investment underscores our commitment to premium video that super-serves our audience of young women and will further accelerate our growth on YouTube and other digital video platforms.”

Clevver’s brands include ClevverTV, Clevver Style, Clevver News, and Spanish-language Clevver TeVe. Hearst’s magazines catering to female audience include Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Esquire,
Elle, Seventeen, Town & Country, Marie Claire and Woman’s Day. They have consistently been at the top of video growth charts of magazine publishers in recent months.

“87% consumers would like to see more video from brands in 2019″

Video continues to offer promising growth opportunities. British publishers including News UK, the Telegraph, Hearst UK and Buzzfeed UK surveyed for the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018 in November believed that revenue from mobile and video would grow by almost 30% in 2019. Around 70% of the publishers said that video content would be a top priority for their business this year.

Glamour, a Condé Nast magazine which ceased regular print publication last year, recently unveiled a redesigned website. According to Glamour’s Editor-in-Chief, Samantha Barry, they plan to “expand video and social storytelling, with new and ambitious series and projects.”

Another recent study, Wyzowl’s 5th annual State of Video Marketing Survey 2019, states that despite continued growth, video still hasn’t reached saturation point, and usage, spend and consumption of video content is set to increase in 2019.

Highlights from the Wyzowl survey (based on a sample of 611 marketers and consumers) include:

  • 87% of consumers would like to see more video from brands in 2019
  • 96% said they’ve watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service
  • 79% said a brand’s video has convinced them to buy a piece of software or app
  • 68% said that they preferred video to learn about new products and services. This was way ahead of preference for text-based articles (15%), infographics (4%) presentations and pitches (4%) ebooks and manuals (3%).
Source: Wyzowl’s 5th annual State of Video Marketing Survey

“Becoming more influential”

Publishers started focusing on YouTube after Facebook’s decision to devalue media content within its news feed. When Fast Company and Inc.’s teams were combined in 2018 they started looking for ways to move video distribution and revenue off platform and settled upon YouTube.

Scott Mebus, VP of Entertainment for Inc. and Fast Company told Digiday, “We need to create a video presence outside of the site, [in that context] YouTube made good sense because Facebook is unreliable. YouTube has been a fairly reliable place where the rules have become somewhat codified — it’s not as nebulous as Facebook and it’s not going to change every month.”

People crave the human connection and the personalities that influencers represent. We create content, but we don’t create talent that represents the brand. That’s a new muscle for us. I always ask: What will make us more influential?

Troy Young, President, Hearst Magazines

Hearst already has a strong bouquet of women’s magazines, adding a female-centric YouTube brand seems like its looking towards nurturing talent that would make it “more influential” with the female audience.

Who knows where it could go from there? Country Living, one of its UK titles, is into renovating hotels; perhaps research and counselling services for women would be the next area worth exploring. The publishing industry is undergoing seismic changes and Hearst Communications with investments ranging from ESPN to global rating agency Fitch is looking far and wide to find its future incarnations.


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