Brett Wadelton

Pacific’s Brett Wadelton – ‘We’re diversifying our audiences across multiple platforms’

Brett Wadelton, Head of Digital Content at Pacific, attributes impressive digital growth at the publisher to integrated teams and a willingness to embrace new and emerging platforms.

Two years on from the announcement of Pacific’s reacquisition of its digital properties from Yahoo!7 and Brett Wadelton, Head of Digital Content, is pleased with how the publisher is tracking. The latest Nielsen DRM figures show Pacific has reached its highest ever unique audience increasing 26% month-on-month and 50% year-on-year to 2.2 million.

“A lot of hard work has been put into our audience growth. Our strategy is working as we diversify our audiences across multiple platforms, SEO, content, technical work on our sites and training for different teams across the business,” says Wadelton. “We continue to grow reaching more and more audiences.”

Among the results released by Nielsen, New Idea, InStyle, Men’s Health and WHO all recorded their highest ever unique audiences.

The power of these and the other brands within the Pacific portfolio is giving Wadelton, who oversees the digital output right across the business, plenty to work with. He says: “We’ve got some really great, iconic, strong brands that are household names.”

These household names have been keeping Wadelton busy since the reacquisition of the digital properties called for the launch of 13 websites over the space of seven weeks.

This large-scale endeavour has given Pacific momentum to explore other ways of distributing content. Wadelton says, “We’ve already been playing in the space of things like Apple News and we’ve also been looking at other platforms that aggregate our content.”

But more established platforms such as Twitter are still getting a look in, particularly for masthead brands that deal with fast-breaking news such as celebrity gossip. Wadelton says, “A lot of people turn their noses down as Twitter because it doesn’t drive huge audiences. But as a news platform, Twitter has something to offer. It’s where I get my news.”

Having full control over the digital extensions of its brands means Pacific is now getting into news territories it might not have before and is beginning to establish a leadership position. “We react and cover stories that other big, digital-only publishers haven’t even got online,” said Wadelton.

Another area Pacific is looking to expand its titles into is podcasting which is handy given Wadelton’s background in radio. He began his career as an audio producer with Southern Cross Austereo.

“Podcasting is breaking the divide between magazines and radio which is exciting. I get a buzz out of that because I came from radio and radio is where it all started,” he says.

Pacific has launched a number of podcasts in recent months including New Idea Investigates, New Idea Royals and WHO magazine’s TV podcast, The Binge List. In the coming months, podcast extensions of Girlfriend magazine and Practical Parenting are expected to launch. “We’ve got great content and great storytellers that lend themselves to podcasting. Especially real-life stories and true crime. They are the standout things in podcasts at the moment,” says Wadelton.

Regardless of the platform, at the heart of Pacific’s digital success is an integrated approach which sees the teams responsible for the print product work side-by-side with online and other brand extensions. Wadelton says: “We are more integrated than ever. The digital content team is constantly talking to editorial about what they’re covering in the magazine and how to extend that online. There is a lot of collaboration happening.”

Likewise, the team is thoroughly integrated with commercial and Wadelton says this is where quality content creators are crucial to making advertising relevant and seamless. “Through the editorial and digital teams, we’re creating content that our audiences love and then integrating commercial partners into that,” he says.

Wadelton says the magazine world, and particularly Pacific is further ahead in the digital race than many people realise with thanks to the great storytellers, journalists and even comedians who work for these magazine brands.

He says, “We’re able to create great content and in recent years, we’ve had to learn how to do it a little differently, and that’s what we’re doing.”