Facebook and YouTube Searching for Magazine Partnerships But How Can Publishers Make Money?

Two keynote addresses at the MPA’s 4th magazines 24/7 conference focused on getting publishers to let go of their content and partner with the social networking and video sharing giants

At the Magazine Publishers of America’s 4th Magazines 24/7 digital conference last week in NYC, the message was loud and clear: let go of your content, produce lots of video (but don’t try to be TV), build widgets and bring your content to where the users are – YouTube and Facebook. Oh… and don’t forget the power of being a magazine publisher.

The opening keynote came from Jordan Hoffner, Head of Premium Content Partnerships at YouTube, who insisted publishers would benefit from partnering with the billion dollar video-sharing Google-owned site. “Go where your audience is,” said Hoffner, reflecting on the hundreds of millions of visits his site gets daily (70% international) and the ten hours of video that are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

Be willing to distribute content on YouTube branded channels, said Hoffner, instead of thinking all branded content should stay on magazine websites. A few pointers for succeeding in partnering with YouTube:

  • Be an asset builder (consider using a correspondent in your videos so that users have a face to relate with the branded experience)
  • Be consistent (upload videos on a regular basis – it’s the only way to keep users returning)
  • Be real (speak their language, understand their community, create content that users can resonate with)

Similar sentiments were echoed by Owen Van Natta, Facebook’s Chief Revenue Officer. Van Natta, being interviewed by Fortune’s David Kirkpatrick in the third keynote of the day, told publishers to stop thinking they should create social networks on their own sites. According to Van Natta, because social networking sites like his are already the obvious leaders in the “socialization of the Web”, magazine publishers would be better served in facilitating their dialogue where the online conversations are already happening: sites like Facebook and MySpace.

“All the dialogue is happening at Facebook,” said Van Natta. “You can either disrupt that dialogue by moving it to your site or you can enter it on Facebook,” said Van Natta.

But how can publishers make money by partnering with Facebook and YouTube?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t exactly clear. Sure, these partnerships can increase brand awareness, leading potentially to a boost in event sign-ups or magazine subscription sales, but the reality is that ROI from these partnerships isn’t something publishers can determine easily and quickly.

Our opinion? Stick with what can be measured, like the very successful contest Good Housekeeping ran, which they attributed part of the success to their landing page strategy.


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