As one of the launch partners for Snapchat Discover back in 2015, Hearst takes pride in being ahead of the curve when it comes to leveraging new social media platforms. That remains at the core of the publisher’s strategy—and its pitch to advertisers—as proven this week at Hearst Magazine Digital Media’s second NewFronts presentation.
At the low-key affair (at least compared to last year’s House Party-themed event, featuring Channing Tatum and the cast of Magic Mike Live), Hearst announced it’s getting the jump on its competitors by signing a deal with uber-hot app Musical.ly to produce a series of fashion- and beauty-themed videos under the Seventeen name. The videos, which will roll out this summer, will provide advertisers with the first branded-content opportunity on the platform, according to the publisher.
“I had always thought that what they were doing was interesting, and that was shown in their audience engagement,” explained Hearst Magazines Digital Media president Troy Young, who said he began talking to the Musical.ly team a year ago. “It was a good fit for what we wanted to do with our brand.” Eventually, Young sees other Hearst titles joining the platform.
Snapchat will continue to play a key part in Hearst’s digital strategy. The publisher has six separate channels on the Discover platform, with flagship brand Cosmopolitan commanding 11 million subscribers. This fall, Cosmo will debut a Snapchat series with Black-ish star Yara Shahidi. Titled “Keep Calm & Yara On,” it offers a “fun, uplifting and relatable take” on the self-care trend.
Also in the wellness category is Glo, a new video-first digital brand launching in September. Targeting millennial women, Glo will focus on healthy living—a category driving major advertiser interest, said Young—but in a lighter, more humorous way than what’s currently in the market.
“This is a generation that’s stressed out about politics, about paying rent, about building a career, about social media,” explained Young. “I look at the category of health and wellness content, and I don’t think it serves them because it’s too serious and it’s boring. That’s why we see Glo as an entertainment brand. Getting healthy can be funny, and the best way to do it is not to take yourself too seriously.”
Other announcements included a multi-platform content partnership and docu-series with actress America Ferrera and her organization Harness, which encourages community activism; the premiere of a new Delish television series on A+E’s FYI channel later this year; and a publishing partnership with Carine Roitfeld that will see the website for her CR Fashion Book launch on the Hearst platform.
“We think that a good partner ethos is essential to being a media company,” said Young. “We have to be incredibly nimble, from the front end in terms of partnerships, to platform in terms of how we package content, to how we get those partnerships into advertisers’ hands in an intelligent way.”