Invariably, like the change of seasons or perhaps a migration of birds south, the calls start coming in May: “Have you started to work on the Hot List yet?”
In covering the media business for more than two decades, I have seen media brands come and go, editorial franchises live and die, platforms launch and crater, and people rise and fall.
The Hot List, however, has stood the test of time, and I’m always amazed by how it amps up our readership. It has changed over time. For the majority of its 33-year run, it focused solely on the magazine industry. Winning publishers have been known to frame and hang in their offices our Hot List, which remains iconic among magazines that compete ferociously to land there—and often complain bitterly when they fail to do so.
But like the industry it celebrates, as executive editor Tony Case eloquently explains, the franchise had to evolve to stay meaningful. Now in its third year expanded to include television and digital, the list has grown to 50 categories ranging from the classic Hottest Women’s Magazine to the new Hottest in Native Advertising. Hottest TV Drama has been joined by Hottest Mobile Game and Hottest YouTube Channel.
While some purists weren’t so happy with expanding the list beyond print, we remain convinced it offers a rich blend of media and, in this fully integrated world, a more relevant capture of contestants. That thinking bore fruit last year when our Hot List Poll attracted more than 1 million votes on Adweek.com.
And we continue to add new layers. Drafting off the Brand Visionary award that is part of our Brand Genius franchise, this year we inaugurate the Media Visionary honor, recognizing an individual who has built career-long success through clear and disciplined professional vision.
Also for the first time ever, we will host a Hot List celebration on Dec. 2 in New York, where winners of this year’s list will be unveiled. (We will embargo our annual Hot List issue to keep the reveal a secret.)
Check out our Hot List ballot here.
Finalists will be announced in our Oct. 14 issue.