Summer arrives in just 12 weeks and reminding us we need to get our chubby, pasty butts down the gym is FITMEDIA’s new CEO Dan Richardson.
Richardson, who was FITMEDIA’s marketing manager before leaving for a product marketing manager role at music streaming service Guvera last year, joins the Executive team of Michael Henry, who moves into an strategy and innovation role, and B&T Women in Media finalist and five-times world figure champion Lindy Olsen.
“Both Michael and Lindy are still very involved with the business,” Richardson told B&T. “Previously they both were straddling the strategic and implementation functions of the business; now I’m here, they’re able to step back to focus on the vision and innovation components of the company. Aside from leading the day to day operations, my role is to look at the current publishing landscape and to make sure we’re making the most of the opportunities that what we can offer for both consumers and advertisers.
Richardson said publishers nowadays are a completely different beast to the models of yesteryear, and he admires what companies such as B&T’s parent company, Misfits Media, Vice and Junkee Media are bringing to the industry.
“The dominant publishers today are not necessarily the traditional publishers we know,” he said. “I think those guys are great example of companies that may not have been previously considered to be as a publisher but now are looking at a very similar structure and offering to us, albeit in a different industry, and a different audience.”
Richardson said at the top of his ‘to do’ list is evolving FITMEDIA’s business model and delivering the content in the way the audience wants it, while monetizing those platforms and content for both FITMEDIA and commercial partners.
And because the company has the production capabilities to create content in-house for each of their magazines, including Oxygen, Men’s Muscle and Health and Clean Eating, along with access to a network of athletes and ambassadors, former BMF account director Richardson said they can “wield this arsenal to create content wherever we see an opportunity”.
“From a branded content point of view, we’ve got some pretty exciting things on the horizon,” he said. “Especially within the online trainer space – the ability to integrate video with editorial content delivered over digital platforms is a big focus area for us. At the moment, we’re essentially just looking at implementing a couple of initiatives across each of our titles, that we’ll own or run in partnership with our clients.
“Print magazines are the bread and butter of what we do and are an incredibly powerful platform for us. But we also have a pretty extensive video, digital and social media presence, which means that we’re able to look at potentially one-offs products around e-books or webinars or live streaming.”
He explained how the independent nature of the business and the ownership of those channels and production mechanisms means they can move quickly and decisively to create new content, both for the company and brand partners.
During his time at Guvera, Richardson worked closely with chief technology officer Damien King, head of product Robb Snell and head of Global Operations and Marketing Kara O-Dwyer – and said it provided great exposure to the bleeding edge of technology.
“I really benefited from working with those guys,” he said. At the moment we [FITMEDIA] don’t do mobile as well as we could. We have digital versions of magazines which we distribute via third party, but mobile is a definitely a focus area for us. I think particularly when you look at fitness and health content, people don’t necessarily have a magazine in their hand in the gym or the kitchen but often they have their mobile.
“So, looking at those particular occasions, what are we doing to make sure that either our content, or content that’s been created on behalf of the brand, becomes part of that conversation and part of that occasion”.
He said the company is a big fan of live video streaming company Periscope and plans to explore further avenues there because, “it allows us to give our audience an up close look at what behind the scenes of our titles. Whether it’s posting on Instagram from behind the scenes of a shoot for the next issue, or Periscoping the Fitness Expo that we happen to be at, there’s a way for us to essentially chat with our audience, show them what we’re up to outside of each issue of the magazine.”