Q&A: Hearst Magazines’ New President Troy Young On What Print Means to the Company

'Print remains really important to us'

a bald man with glasses
Troy Young was named president of Hearst Magazines in 2018. Hearst Magazine

Troy Young was named to succeed David Carey as president of Hearst Magazines today. In the more than five years Young worked as president of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, he transformed the digital brand to more closely align with the print product, brought in revenue and a surge in pageviews.

“David built an amazing company,” Young said. “The company is extraordinarily well-managed and financially sound and built around the idea of continuous evolution. That’s the part that makes this easier.”

Here’s his plan as Hearst Magazines’ new president:

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Adweek: I know this is Day 1 for you, but what are your priorities moving forward, both in the longer and short-term?
Troy Young: It is Day One, Sara. I couldn’t be more excited … We’re a content company. I say that because I sometimes worry that the term ‘magazine’ can put you in a box. And we’re a content company and that’s been true for many years. The opportunities for content in the era we’re in now [are] vast.

So, I’m really excited, the first opportunity, always, is how do we service consumers better and how do we make our products as good as they can be? How do we do that in video, in digital, in voice and in print? Print remains really important to us and I think we have to, just like every company of our kind, print is a wonderful differentiator and we have to think [about] what role it plays in people’s lives as it sits alongside a mobile phone.

Our business is very ad-dependent, and that’s OK cause we’re really good at serving advertisers, but we have to think about revenue diversification. It’s not just like you start with a bunch of subscription offers. You have to think of what the value of a consumer is in a digital-print era. And that’s incredibly hard and really exciting and you have to have a really great team to do it, and I think we can.

I really am excited in the area of commerce and in data, and what we found is that our content leads to purchase. And we’ve built a lot of really interesting systems to get really, really good at that. That also creates a huge amount of data because you understand what people are buying. The retail environment is shifting massively and we need to play a really big role in that shift.

Especially coming from a digital background, what experiences do you uniquely bring to the position?
Well, I’m a media person first and have been my whole life, meaning I have a veracious appetite and interest in consuming media and understanding why consumers need it. The good thing is that our business is shifting in that direction and I understand every aspect of what it takes to build a modern digital and print media company.

I have a lot to learn from my colleagues around how we should be thinking about print, and what an exciting opportunity that is for someone like me. But the nice thing about having 25 years of digital experience is that that part of it isn’t a challenge.

This was a big year for media acquisitions and mergers, including Hearst–which acquired Rodale titles in January. What’s your perspective on your current roster of titles?
I love the Rodale titles. There’s a real service focus and they play to people’s passions, whether that’s running or cycling and women’s health and prevention. I think in a digital age, having brands that serve people’s passions and serve people’s need to evolve and change and improve their lives is a real advantage and that was the underlying thesis surrounding the Rodale acquisition and I think it’s being proven out.

To loyal readers of each of the print titles, what can they expect from you and Hearst Magazines?
We’re going to serve them extremely well.

@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.