Q&A: Atlantic Media exec discusses new b-to-b launch, plans for more
May 15, 2012 -- On Tuesday, Atlantic Media Company officially announced it will debut a new “digital-first” title, Defense One, this summer, which will become the company’s second business-to-business-modeled brand and will target 60,000 senior-level Department of Defense officials. Atlantic Media is also the parent company of b-to-b brand Government Executive Media Group, which reaches federal managers and agency leaders nationwide.
Defense One will draw from both Government Executive Media Group, an ABM member, and Quartz, the company’s inaugural “digital-first” title, which premiered in September. Tim Hartman, president of Government Executive Media Group, told Nieman Journalism Lab, who broke the story, that the launches were strategic and a third “digital-first” brand will likely premiere by 2015.
Free to readers, Defense One will rely on traditional advertising, native ads and event sponsorships for revenue (the brand is already planning its first signature event, to debut this fall). ABM caught up with Hartman to discuss the launch, the digital opportunity and what makes b-to-b media attractive.
ABM: What opportunity did Atlantic Media see with this launch? Why ‘digital-first’?
Tim Hartman: In our research, national security leaders identified a gap in the media landscape. They are facing an unprecedented time of transformation in our national defense strategy and operations. It’s a time of increasing budget pressure, but they also have new frontiers, such as the cyber domain, to defend.
At the same time, their media habits are shifting. They have an increasingly voracious appetite for high quality news and analysis, and they are demanding that it be accessible at any time via any device. We already serve more than 60,000 members of the Defense leadership today through Government Executive and Nextgov, and we are seeing a rapid shift among this audience to not only digital media but to mobile.
In that sense, we saw an opportunity to disrupt traditional print-focused defense media. We aspire to be the persistent digital brand serving the defense and national security leader, covering the trends that will define the new era of national security.
ABM: Who will oversee Defense One? Will the brand be a part of Government Executive Media Group?
Hartman: The Government Executive Media Group leadership team is managing the launch of Defense One, extending our successful digital-first b-to-b model (over 70 percent of our business is already digital). From a brand perspective, however, Defense One will have its own unique identity and will be a standalone brand at Atlantic Media.
ABM: Why kick off with a title event? What's the strategy there?
Hartman: Events and digital, when integrated well, reinforce each other and build loyalty. We like to surround our audience with our brands -- starting with digital and then bringing the brand to life through in-person events.
For Defense One, we will use the launch of DefenseOne.com to demonstrate our value and build an audience. Through the title event, we will create a market-defining moment in the national security community.
ABM: How does Atlantic Media feel about b-to-b media? Why expand with another title?
Hartman: We see b-to-b as attractive because when done well, b-to-b brands can engage a very targeted, valuable audience for which advertisers will pay a premium to reach. We already see other niche markets that could be well served by our digital-first engagement model.
By Elizabeth A. Reid