Magazines are much more than magazines these days. Hearst's Esquire is trying out two new revenue drivers this year: gaming and retail, Editor-in-Chief David Granger said today during the Publishing Business Conference & Expo.
The magazine is in the process of launching Clad, the largest online retail store for men in partnership with “one of America's largest retailers,” Granger said. (A slide Granger presented of the website is pictured.)
“We'll be partnering to be the editorial and structural voice of Clad,” Granger said. “My motivation for doing this is simple: Magazines have already done one essential thing — we've made people want things, whether it's a better life or better shoes … But for the hundreds of years that magazines have been around, magazines have stopped short on delivering that desire.”
Esquire's move is a sign that commerce is becoming more of a reality for consumer publishers. Hearst's Seventeen.com partnered with JCPenney on a virtual dress room
. Magazines like Time Inc.'s Instyle
have experimented with click-to-buy technology. Esquire's move to launch a full-blown retail store is an ambitious endeavor from a mainstream magazine brand — but one that might not be as uncommon in the future.
“What we're going to try to do at Esquire is to close the gap between inspiration and action. I want people to go directly from the pages of the magazine or from our website or from our iPad application and be able to take consumer action based on the desire we've created in our pages.”
Getting into games
Esquire is also dipping into gaming
, which is another emerging opportunity, particularly for consumer publishers.
In June the brand is launching a touch-based trivia game on the iPad, based on the puzzles they used to ru
n in the magazine. The game will have six levels, including a touch-enabled Rubik's Cube of images. The business model will consist of two free levels — one of which is sponsored by an advertiser — and additional lev
els for a few dollars, Granger said.
The game and the store are two signs that magazines are no longer constricted to being the middleman, Granger said.
“The breaking down of distribution barriers and barriers of all kinds is offering us the same kind of opportunity to invent and reinvent ourselves as it does some kid sitting in a garage somewhere.”