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Japan|Hearst Fujingaho Launches New Business, “HearstMade” with Data Studio Set to Open by Year End

Apr 9, 2019.Manabu TakamuraTokyo, JP
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Daisuke Yamaguchi ・ General Manager of Hearst fujingaho

Hearst Fujingaho Publishing Co., Ltd., who’s responsible for magazines such as ELLE Japon, Fujingaho, 25ans, Harper's Bazaar, etc. is accelerating their transition into a digital publisher. In recent years, the company launched Cosmopolitan and Women's Health as a digital media, and launched voice content services compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa which achieved sales and income success in fiscal 2018 as a result of their expansion in the digital business. While promoting their transformation into a business model that focuses on data, a new business named HearstMade launched in January 2019 to integrate various capabilities of media and high quality databases to provide various marketing solutions.

In charge of the this is leader and head of advertising, Daisuke Yamaguchi. In July 2019, they launched the Hearst Data Studio Tokyo, which commercialized data management.

"To pursue the media brand business is also my mission." says Yamaguchi. HearstMade is expected to grow to the third sales scale after 25ans and ELLE Japon in the first year, when replaced with the advertising business. Monetization outside of magazines and books, especially in the digital sector, is a pressing issue for any publisher trying to create profit however HEARST Fujingaho has demonstrated as the leaders in this area. We asked Mr. Yamaguchi in detail about HearstMade’s strategic approach.

SVT: What kind of business is HearstMade?
 Daisuke Yamaguchi (hereinafter referred to as Yamaguchi): First of all, it means that we have built a system that enables us to demonstrate our comprehensive strength that spans throughout the divisions. When we receive a task from a business partner, departments such as the CRM Business Division and the Digital Division will respond in an interlocking manner around HearstMade. Former editor-in-chief of MEN'S CLUB magazine, Yoshiharu Oka is responsible for the sales and content marketing department while the digital and video content production department is led by Yumi Deguchi, the former editor-in-chief of Fujingaho Magazine who also shoulders the creative aspects and business developments. Editors who’ve worked at a magazine and are experienced in their trade are very skilled storytellers. Although hailing from a print publishing background, their abilities in absorbing information through digital and film are unparalleled. They’re fast in remembering and knowing exactly what the clients need. The CRM Business Headquarters has a database of over 700,000 high quality customer information, therefore, HearstMade is able to provide high-quality contents using strategic developments based on the data made-to-measure.

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.