SPECIALIST MEDIA SHOW
Peter Houston, Founder, CCO, Flipping Pages Media
Peter Houston is a true magazine enthusiast, whether on print or digital channels. Formerly Group Director of Content for Advanstar's Life Sciences division, he has hands on experience creating content for print, digital, social, web and elearning. Peter now runs Flipping Pages Media Ltd, helping content producers succeed on emerging platforms and revitalising established products and services. He spoke at the Specialist Media Conference on 24 May 2012 (and his previous appearances have been highly rated). Peter is also taking part in the 2013 Conference. Here he shares his own priorities and offers tips for other niche publishers.
How did you get into publishing?
I stalked my girlfriend - now my wife - to Hong Kong in 1987. The first job I was offered that paid better than teaching English was as a sub on a B2B magazine covering Asian manufacturing. I took it to pay the rent and stayed eight years.
What media brands do you publish?
At Advanstar I was involved in magazines, conferences, websites and newsletters, social media and eBooks across our Pharma-Science brands. I now run the Flipping Pages Blog, my attempt to make sense of what’s happening to magazines in pixels and print.
What’s happening in your market?
The headlines are digital growth and declining print, but I think it’s more nuanced than that. Clever crossmedia strategies allow publishers to use emerging platforms - social media, multimedia, eBooks, paid content - to revitalise their print products at the same time as developing new digital revenue streams.
What’s new for your products?
Everything - I just launched Flipping Pages Media. Our initial focus is training to give content teams the confidence to meet the demands of their audience across multiple platforms andcontent audits to give publishers a solid starting point for their crossmedia strategy.
Where are your big opportunities?
Publishers that still rely heavily on print revenue but know they need to grow their digital portfolio.
What keeps you awake at night?
Making sure I don’t miss the “next big thing” in digital content and then figuring out how it fits with a practical crossmedia strategy.
What big decisions do you have coming up?
Whether to buy a new iPad or go for an Android tablet.
How do you find out about new trends in publishing?
Twitter points me to where I need to go.
What’s your top tip for other niche and independent publishers?
Focus your efforts on delivering value where your audience wants it. Don’t waste time on channels that your audience doesn’t use
What’s your favourite magazine?
That’s an impossible question. In print, there are so many fantastic new independent titles, and on the iPad, I saw a dozen titles whilst judging the Digital Magazine Awards last year that are well worth the cover price. One of my all-time favourites is still Stranded, a crowd-sourced, print-on-demand one-off that celebrated the chaos caused by the Icelandic volcano in 2010. It was ground breaking conceptually, the delivery was impeccable and it demonstrates exactly why the magazine format, print or digital, has a future – there will always be a market for high production values, tight pacing and a unified narrative.
Peter Houston is running a round table discussion at the Specialist Media Conference on 24 April 2013.
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