Hearst Magazines has put a lot of resources into developing its digital assets, and now the company is creating a new position to oversee its efforts. Today, Hearst announced that it hired Troy Young as president of Hearst Magazines Digital Media. Young will oversee digital content, technology, operations, revenue, product and business development strategies across all of Hearst’s online brands, according to the company.
Young, who said he has spent the past several months advising Hearst, is steeped in digital. Between 2010 and 2012, he was the president of Say Media, parent of sites like Jane Pratt’s xoJane and tech blog ReadWrite. Prior to that, he was chief experience officer of Omnicom’s digital agency Organic and has held board and advisory positions at digital companies like Refinery29 (a fashion, lifestyle and e-commerce site in which Hearst is an investor) Spinmedia (formerly BuzzMedia) and ticket sales platform CrowdSurge.
Troy’s “pure-play” experience was a key part of his hiring, said Hearst Magazines president David Carey. “We admire the common thread of innovation that digital entrepreneurs are bringing to the space by being less rigid and taking greater risks than some of the large-scale companies,” he said. “In identifying and hiring Troy, we realized that’s the path we need to be on.”
One of Young’s initial goals will be to push Hearst’s digital side from the month-to-month thinking of a magazine publisher to the moment-to-moment schedule of a digital company. “I think that’s the big theme: How do we move really quickly and learn to develop a relationship with the consumer every minute of the day?” he said.
Many of the companies Young has been involved with—including Say Media and Refinery29—have been heavily involved in native advertising, which Young is planning to bring more of to Hearst’s brands.
“Content marketing is a huge part of what we’ll do, and a huge part of what differentiates us from other platforms,” Young said. “We create an unbelievable amount of content across the brands, and it’s an important mechanism to build a relationship with a consumer for the advertiser. I think that’s what’s special about the organization.”