As large media companies continue their epic struggles and spend more time figuring out how to scale back by reducing staff and overhead, entrepreneurs have the advantage of starting off fresh and are quickly grabbing market share and advertising dollars. Online media properties including Collective-E members SheFinds, The Beauty Bean and now Page Daily are competing head on with fashion and lifestyle magazines. These online "multi media resources" which go beyond just online magazines can take advantage of cheap new technologies, a skilled writing pool recently laid off traditional magazines, alternative revenue models and most importantly, the ability to move quickly to adjust to a changing marketplace and opportunities.
Take new entrant Page Daily. Started as a hobby and passion for magazines and collecting and sharing information, Melissa Meyers just had to tell all her friends every time she found any hidden gem. Her email to friends turned into a weekly email called AskMelissa. This local email quickly grew to tens of thousands of followers, regular appearances on NBC and an active social life for this mother of two (she was recently spotted in cameo appearances on Real Housewives of NYC). But Melissa wanted more, she wanted a national platform so set her sights high, sold her Hampton's House to fund her business (and her husband's hedge fund he was launching at the same time) and put a big chunk of her savings into Page Daily.
With a staff of 7 including Editor in Chief Nancy Rotenier, former staff writer at Forbes and a former head of Ad Sales for Daily Candy as strategic adviser, Page Daily delivers a page of original content in a magazine format to your email box every day, allowing you to click and buy every single item on the page including, thanks to technology from an Israeli company called Qoof, straight from video. While one of their revenue models is affiliate sales, Rotenier swears to me up and down that when writing about or including items in editorial content she has no idea if they have an affiliate arrangement. This means you'll find independent designers next to mass retailers, and you can buy everything. According to Meyers "this whole concept is not pay to play, it is designed to save women time by giving a quick bite of digestible information and allow a quick click to purchase."
Similarly, Alexis Wolfer armed with experience from Lucky Magazine, Stylecaster and a Master's Degree in Women's Studies self-financed the launch of The Beauty Bean, a website dedicated to real beauty without a focus on weight loss. Alexis has been able to tap into young, under-employed writers to create fresh, original content and leverage her celebrity friendships including Brooklyn Decker and Serena Williams to launch with a bang, in a few short months she is already partnering with The Dove Campaign on events.
And for final proof that online is the way to go, SheFinds, one of the originals in this space actually broke even last year with a revenue model that includes advertising, affiliate sales and content syndication. How many traditional magazines can say that?
As online advertising sales surpass print will magazines quickly follow suit in an effort to compete? According to Meyers "traditional media companies are in a tough position because they don't want to completely cannibalize their print model." However, as these ventures prove successful she is under no illusion that they won't follow suit, or even set out to acquire more online properties to enter the marketplace. None of that matters much to Meyers, she is setting out to create a "360 brand," this launch with Dita Von Teese on the cover is just the beginning.
Follow Beth Schoenfeldt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/collectivee