SVT: Many brands are not satisfied with the current advertising agencies and marketing companies.
Yamaguchi: As you’ve mentioned, we have had the opportunity to hear the opinions from luxury brands. For example, if you ask those companies to do market research, the data that comes up is general (not segmented) data, and more often does nothing for the luxury brands. In our case, web surfers, subscribers, event participants, and e-commerce buyers have all been filed into the “Hearst ID” database. This will allow the user to have a deeper insight into the exact segments presented alongside with the contents on the target base with actual numbers. In fact, the reason for our media growth is thanks to the abilities demonstrated by HearstMade.
SVT: It means that the quality of the data is incomparable.
Yamaguchi: That's correct. We have a wide range of media from lifestyle to luxury. They show how our web media is growing, what kind of contents are generating traffic and increasing engagement, what kind of SNS we should place our focus, suggest what contents should be developed, etc. to gather in abundance of knowledge necessary for the growth of a brand. Simply making good contents does not generate traffic.
SVT: HearstMade is a business entity that generates revenue on its own as well.
Yamaguchi: Working as head of the advertising department, we’re always thinking of ways on how to monetize the media brand business. In fact, at the time of the former Hachette Fujingaho Magazine, I had a regrettable experience with four publications that have been discontinued: Gentry, La Vie de 30ans, Vingtaine and Marie Claire. At that time, the company's management could not survive without being number one in each segment, so it became the policy to shift to digitization early on. That was certainly the right decision, but the four magazines wouldn’t have had to withdraw, if only revenue from advertising and sales were available. From that time on, I was thinking about the third pillar of earnings after advertising and sales.
SVT: "Hearst Digital Studio Tokyo" will be opened later this year?
Yamaguchi: Hearst is the largest media conglomerate in the United States, publishing more than 300 magazines, but in fact commerce is the most advanced in Japan. In other words, we are able to capture a wealth of data through the growth of our commerce business. Focusing on these two directions of data analysis for people and data analysis for content, we aim to enhance our data management.
SVT: In the digital domain, you have demonstrated as the leader in the publishing industry.
Yamaguchi: We no longer see other companies as our competitor. While you have decent data, you are looking at it unable to fully utilize it effectively. If the outline of the media is clear and the reader's profile is clear, valuable data can be collected. When tying the businesses together and consolidating the data received, the database will automatically become second to none. In the future, it may not be necessary for the industry to create a synergy by tying up media companies with one another.