h1

Chill Magazine: A New Title From Pride Media That Removes The Label “Gay” & Just Resonates Around The Person – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Joe Landry, Executive Vice President, Pride Media…

June 18, 2018

“We specialize in print. Our core history is in print. We have The Advocate, Out, Plus; and The Advocate turned 50 last year. Out turned 25 and Plus is turning 20 this year; we’re having the 20th anniversary of Plus. So, we have a long history in print publications. And there’s also more credibility in print. If we just launched a website, I don’t know how we make an impact within that space the way we can in print.” Joe Landry…

Recently, I attended the IMAG Conference in Boston, hosted by MPA: The Association of Magazine Media. It was an absolutely eye-opening experience and wonderfully informative. While there, I had the pleasure of speaking one on one with Joe Landry, a 25-year veteran in the magazine media business and who is now executive vice president of Pride Media. With magazines as notable as The Advocate, Out and Plus under his belt, I can’t tell you how excited I was to learn about a new print title, Chill, that Pride Media is publishing.

According to Joe, Chill is geared toward that LGBT person who dislikes labels such as “gay” attached to their persona. The magazine is really aimed at African American and Hispanic millennial men who are more about the person than the stereotype. It’s an exciting concept that opens up an entire new spectrum of possibilities for the LGBTQ individual.

Joe also touched on the relaunch of Out Traveler and a new content studio coming up in November called “Black Cat” in honor of The Advocates’ beginning after the Black Cat Riots in the 1960s. It was a great interview and one that I think you will thoroughly enjoy.

And now without further ado, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Joe Landry, executive vice president, Pride Media.

But first the sound-bites:

On the new print magazine from Pride Media, Chill: There’s a movement underfoot in the millennial audience where some folks do not want to subscribe to the label “gay.” And the archetype for gay, for the younger generation, is kind of this white, buffed, affluent male. And we were losing out on attracting this younger audience, so we came up with the title “Chill,” which is geared toward African Americans and Hispanics, mostly millennial men, who don’t subscribe to labels.

On whether he sees Chill as a line extension of the other titles beneath Pride Media’s umbrella or he feels as though they’re carving a new niche: It’s definitely a new niche. I mean, 80 percent of the staff that creates Chill is African American or Latino. So, it’s a different point of view that we are working with, both on the editorial side from a content perspective, and also on the advertising and marketing side. We are now going after African American and Latino dollars that we didn’t have access to before, typically from some of the same people that we’ve been talking to who had diversity at various companies.

On whether he feels they are now doubling the diversity and making the gay community even more of a minority: No, I don’t see it that way at all. I see it as creating content that’s relevant to a consumer segment that we didn’t have access to before. So, how Procter & Gamble would view it, I don’t know. I haven’t had a conversation with Procter & Gamble about double minorities, but there are diversity agencies that specialize in Black and Latinos. They might have a subset of LGBT, and it’s still viewed as LGBT, even though it’s not screaming out on the cover, while also hitting the Latino and African American audiences as well.

In front of the Boston, MA Public Library. This is the first of three interviews I conducted in Boston while attending the MPA: The Association of Magazine Media’s IMAG 2018 conference.

On why he decided Chill should be a print magazine: We specialize in print. Our core history is in print. We have The Advocate, Out, Plus; and The Advocate turned 50 last year. Out turned 25 and Plus is turning 20 this year; we’re having the 20th anniversary of Plus. So, we have a long history in print publications. And there’s also more credibility in print. If we just launched a website, I don’t know how we make an impact within that space the way we can in print.

On the differentiation between Chill and Condé Nast’s website, Them: I think that having Condé Nast launch an LGBT product is a validation of the work that I’ve been doing for the last 25 years. I also know how difficult it is to sustain LGBT products and the market limitations to LGBT products, that’s why we have Out; why we have The Advocate; why we have Chill; why we have pride.com; and why we have Out Traveler. You sort of need to speak to each segment of the community in the voice in which they’re going to respond to. And I’m not sure that one site will have the scale that would be of interest to carry a Condé Nast title.

On relaunching Out Traveler: We are relaunching Out Traveler. In 2008, when the company was sold, the owners were very nervous about what was happening in 2008 and they folded the print publication. And Out Traveler has been an online destination. Under our new ownership we are relaunching Out Traveler in print in November. And I have been a big proponent for bringing Out Traveler back to print, so we’re very excited about that.

On the biggest challenge he thinks he’ll face in 2019 and beyond: It’s interesting that we’re having this conversation right now in the middle of June, because June is Pride month and it is our most successful month from an advertising revenue perspective in the history of the company, which is crazy. And we’re diversifying our offerings into creating assets for marketers.

On how he would define content today: Creating assets, whether it’s in print, in video, in social, or experiential, that are relevant to our audience. So, that’s the broad definition of content. And editorial is, of course, the most important area of creating content, but we’re also doing it on the marketing side with our partners. And a lot of our content is amplified through social influencers, so that’s another component to a lot of the programs that we do now. Not only do we create custom content, but we have the talent that we hire to create the custom content share the content on their own social platforms.

On whether he feels more at ease about the future of print today than he did five years ago: No. I am never at ease. (Laughs) I am confident in the company. I am confident in our assets and I am confident that we will continue to deliver relevant messaging for our audiences, both from an editorial perspective and from an advertising perspective across platforms. But I’m sort of platform agnostic, I mean, I love magazines because that’s where I come from, but it’s really about where does the consumer want the content and the information. And that’s where I’m going to deliver it. So, I’m not beholden to any one platform.

On where he is making his money: The most growth is coming from experiential’s. So, from a percentage perspective and revenue year over year, it’s crazy how much more we are making in experiential. Branded content, again, year over year, explosive growth. Digital banner ads are flat and print is down.

On anything he’d like to add: We are launching a brand new content studio called “Black Cat,” so, if you recall in 1967 the Black Cat riots preceded the Stonewall Riots and the folks from those riots who were arrested during those riots started a newsletter called “Pride,” Personal Rights In Defense and Education, which eventually became The Advocate. So, in homage to the history of The Advocate, we’re naming our brand new content studio Black Cat.

On what he would have tattooed upon his brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about him: Advocate.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at his home: Watching Netflix and eating popcorn.

On what keeps him up at night: Work. Email – too many emails. It’s crazy; it’s unsustainable the amount of emails that we have to process on a daily basis.


And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Joe Landry, executive vice president, Pride Media.

Samir Husni: Pride Media just launched another new print magazine, Chill. Tell me about it.

Joe Landry: There’s a movement underfoot in the millennial audience where some folks do not want to subscribe to the label “gay.” And the archetype for gay, for the younger generation, is kind of this white, buffed, affluent male. And we were losing out on attracting this younger audience, so we came up with the title “Chill,” which is geared toward African Americans and Hispanics, mostly millennial men, who don’t subscribe to labels.

I have an interesting story where I was meeting with the head of Diversity at Wells Fargo when we were launching the publication. I was explaining Chill and this smile came across her face. And I said, “What?” And she said, “I’ll tell you after.” So, I did the whole spiel. I told her about the publication, who we were looking to appeal to, and she told me a story about her stepson, who had moved back in with her and her husband, and was going away on weekends. And they didn’t know where he was going. She found out that he was actually married to a man, living in her house. She’s the head of Diversity at Wells Fargo and her stepson was scooting away to go and see his husband, whom he had married, and she didn’t know he was gay.

So, when she addressed this, she said, “I’m the head of Diversity at Wells Fargo and you’re gay, and that’s okay. And he said, “No, I’m not gay. I just happened to be married to a man.” So, there’s this rejection of the label. And we don’t want the label to keep people from being attracted to our titles.

Samir Husni: Do you feel like Chill is a line extension for the rest of the magazines, or you’re carving a new niche?

Joe Landry: It’s definitely a new niche. I mean, 80 percent of the staff that creates Chill is African American or Latino. So, it’s a different point of view that we are working with, both on the editorial side from a content perspective, and also on the advertising and marketing side. We are now going after African American and Latino dollars that we didn’t have access to before, typically from some of the same people that we’ve been talking to who had diversity at various companies.

Samir Husni: Is this now double-diversity? Or how do you view it? I mean, the gay community is already a minority, now are you doubling on the minority?

Joe Landry: No, I don’t see it that way at all. I see it as creating content that’s relevant to a consumer segment that we didn’t have access to before. So, how Procter & Gamble would view it, I don’t know. I haven’t had a conversation with Procter & Gamble about double minorities, but there are diversity agencies that specialize in Black and Latinos. They might have a subset of LGBT, and it’s still viewed as LGBT, even though it’s not screaming out on the cover, while also hitting the Latino and African American audiences as well.

Samir Husni: And why did you decide to go with print?

Joe Landry: We specialize in print. Our core history is in print. We have The Advocate, Out, Plus; and The Advocate turned 50 last year. Out turned 25 and Plus is turning 20 this year; we’re having the 20th anniversary of Plus. So, we have a long history in print publications.

And there’s also more credibility in print. If we just launched a website, I don’t know how we make an impact within that space the way we can in print.

Samir Husni: Condé Nast has launched a website, Them, aimed at the LGBTQ community. Do you view that now as competition or because there is no print component it’s a different entity entirely? What’s the differentiation between Chill and Them?

Joe Landry: There is no relationship to Chill. I think that having Condé Nast launch an LGBT product is a validation of the work that I’ve been doing for the last 25 years. I also know how difficult it is to sustain LGBT products and the market limitations to LGBT products, that’s why we have Out; why we have The Advocate; why we have Chill; why we have pride.com; and why we have Out Traveler. You sort of need to speak to each segment of the community in the voice in which they’re going to respond to. And I’m not sure that one site will have the scale that would be of interest to carry a Condé Nast title.

Samir Husni: You are relaunching Out Traveler?

Joe Landry: Yes, we are relaunching Out Traveler. In 2008, when the company was sold, the owners were very nervous about what was happening in 2008 and they folded the print publication. And Out Traveler has been an online destination. Under our new ownership we are relaunching Out Traveler in print in November. And I have been a big proponent for bringing Out Traveler back to print, so we’re very excited about that.

Samir Husni: Through the 25 years that you’ve worked with those titles, you’ve seen your share of ups and downs. Now it seems you’ve reached a level of stabilization of the marketplace with your titles. What do you view as your biggest challenge as you look at 2019 and beyond?

Joe Landry: It’s interesting that we’re having this conversation right now in the middle of June, because June is Pride month and it is our most successful month from an advertising revenue perspective in the history of the company, which is crazy. And we’re diversifying our offerings into creating assets for marketers.

For example, H&M came to us and they wanted to launch a campaign for this segment in-store. So, they weren’t coming to us to buy media, they were coming to us for our expertise in the market, they were coming to us for our brand authenticity. And we actually created an entire campaign for them that’s in stores now. You can go to the H&M down the street; it’s called “Pride Out Loud” and it is a point of sale campaign, as well as a social campaign. We created custom video content for them .

So, that’s sort of the area in which we’re expanding; we are taking our expertise to the marketplace and we are elevating the conversation with marketing partners to show them that if they are looking for authenticity, we know how to deliver that to them. So, not only are we delivering the media message, but we’re creating the message to deliver to our audience.

Samir Husni: One of the things that I always say is that you can’t just be content providers, you have to be experience makers. With that in mind, how do you define content today?

Joe Landry: Wow. Creating assets, whether it’s in print, in video, in social, or experiential, that are relevant to our audience. So, that’s the broad definition of content. And editorial is, of course, the most important area of creating content, but we’re also doing it on the marketing side with our partners. And a lot of our content is amplified through social influencers, so that’s another component to a lot of the programs that we do now. Not only do we create custom content, but we have the talent that we hire to create the custom content share the content on their own social platforms.

Samir Husni: Do you feel more at ease today about the future of print than you felt, let’s say, five years ago?

Joe Landry: No. I am never at ease. (Laughs) I am confident in the company. I am confident in our assets and I am confident that we will continue to deliver relevant messaging for our audiences, both from an editorial perspective and from an advertising perspective across platforms. But I’m sort of platform agnostic, I mean, I love magazines because that’s where I come from, but it’s really about where does the consumer want the content and the information. And that’s where I’m going to deliver it. So, I’m not beholden to any one platform.

Samir Husni: Where are you making your money?

Joe Landry: The most growth is coming from experiential’s. So, from a percentage perspective and revenue year over year, it’s crazy how much more we are making in experiential. Branded content, again, year over year, explosive growth. Digital banner ads are flat and print is down.

Samir Husni: Anything you’d like to add?

Joe Landry: We are launching a brand new content studio called “Black Cat,” so, if you recall in 1967 the Black Cat riots preceded the Stonewall Riots and the folks from those riots who were arrested during those riots started a newsletter called “Pride,” Personal Rights In Defense and Education, which eventually became The Advocate. So, in homage to the history of The Advocate, we’re naming our brand new content studio Black Cat.

Samir Husni: When will it launch?

Joe Landry: We are working on the press release currently. Our first project was with H&M, I talked about the H&M campaign. That was our first project.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Joe Landry: Advocate.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing? Having a glass of wine; reading a magazine; cooking; watching TV; or something else? How do you unwind?

Joe Landry: Watching Netflix and eating popcorn.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Joe Landry: Work. Email – too many emails. It’s crazy; it’s unsustainable the amount of emails that we have to process on a daily basis.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: