Citation Champion K (2015) Experimentation and Imitation: The Journey to Elle 360, Journal of Media Innovations, 2 (1), pp. 23-40.
Abstract It is widely acknowledged that the media industries are facing an unprecedented period of disruption within the Internet age. Whilst avoiding technological determinism, it is important to recognize the scale of the changes being faced and the altering landscape which media businesses, particularly those with a strong legacy, are forced to operate in (Chan-Olmsted and Chang, 2003; Küng, 2008; Küng, Picard and Towse, 2008; Küng, 2013). This paper focuses on the initial findings from a case study of Elle UK and the title’s explicit engagement with multi-platform, which has involved multiple and wide ranging product, process and content innovations. The paper focuses on an analysis of semi-structured interviews carried out with senior employees at Hearst Magazines UK and Elle UK. With regard to adjusting to a multi-platform approach to publishing, Hearst UK is considered to have innovated more quickly than rivals (Halliday and Sweney, 2013) and Elle UK has engaged with a multi-platform strategy, ‘Elle 360’. Despite a public discourse of platform neutrality, evidence from the initial research suggests that the economic strategies, and as a corollary work practices and content decisions, continue to preference the print magazine above emerging and alternative platforms. The paper concludes by arguing for holistic innovation studies which take account of soft innovations as well as those focused on new product development.
Keywords multi-platform innovation; magazine publishing; digital disruption