Westport Sunrise Rotary

Postings from the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club

Custom Media Works – Use It

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That’s the message Jim Gabal, Managing Director of Moffly Custom Media left Westport Sunrise Rotary on Friday morning.

Parent company Moffly Media publishes Greenwich magazine, Westport magazine and four sister books that present the luxury life style of lower Fairfield County to a high income audience in rich looking glossy publications.

Moffly is a 25 year old, second generation family business that has become the “leading authority on this affluent area.” Jonathan Moffly, as President, now runs the business that began as Greenwich magazine.

He joked that “my wife, mother and father work for me. If you think that’s complicated… you’re right!”

His mother began writing at Greenwich magazine in the 1960s. In 1987 his father retired from Time Life and acquired the publication from its 85 year old owner. He immediately turned the black and white magazine into a full color book and “burned red for five years.”

The younger Moffly joined the business in 1997. He “fell in love” with it and set out to expand its reach. Having earlier fallen in love with Westport, he replicated the Greenwich book, then did the same with a publication for New Canaan and Darien.

In 2006 he added athome, which he called a “show stopper (offering) pure home design.” The book became so popular outside the area that Moffly rethought its mission and pulled it back in order to deliver better results for its base of Fairfield County advertisers.

When the economy turned south a couple of years later he fought back by starting Stamford magazine, then Fairfield Living.

The team built Moffly into a “pre-eminent regional magazine publisher,” one that “celebrates community better than anyone else.” Moffly highlights the “Best of the Gold Coast.” – its people, places, fashion, restaurants, weddings…

More than six people read the typical issue of a Moffly publication – a strong reach meaning a great buy for advertisers who pay a premium price to reach an upscale audience. A typical issue of Westport magazine has a circulation of 6,500 – in a community with 10,000 homes – and is read by 36,400 people.

Unlike many traditional ink on paper businesses, Moffly seems at home in the digital world. Today they offer a single website (http://www.mofflymedia.com/), but are on the verge of expanding to nine sites that will enhance the user experience and clarify branding.

Moffly Custom Media

Moffly’s focus on its core skills have yielded a network of high end resources and enabled the company to branch out with Moffly Custom Media. This venture is dedicated to creating single client specialty publications offering a focused mix of story and advertising for individual companies, organizations and institutions targeting a well defined luxury audience.

Among its products are Lillian August, a publication for its customers and for select interior designers; Ocean House, an in room magazine; The Players Club, a publication offering financial and life style information to 10,000 highly compensated professional athletes; and Fight On, a publication the University of Pennsylvania used to raise money to upgrade its athletic facilities.

Gabal told the Rotarians that “custom media is the largest media type in the U. S., with revenues of $41.1B.” The U. S. Internet is second, at $29B, and traditional magazines third at $24.3B. Gabal forecasts the Internet growing to number one in the next few years – in part due to demands on companies such as Moffly to expand their web presences.

Over 65,000 companies use custom media, and sponsor more than 123,000 unique publications. The typical publication has nine issues per year. 69% target external audiences.

Gabal said that 78% of the publications are ink on paper, the other 22% are online publications. He added that Moffly “doesn’t care whether it’s ink on paper or digital.”

Corporate America likes custom media because it offers a controlled editorial environment that lets the sponsor “tell its audience what it wants them to know.” They offer a “non-competitive marketing environment” that make them both efficient and an effective way to reach a “preferred audience” with a pure message. And they are “intrusive in a positive manner.”

Because the audience is receptive the publication “is ideal for long-form communication,” often the best way to tell a detailed or nuanced story that may suffer in a publication for a broader audience.

Gabal stressed that consumers like these highly targeted publications. They “strengthen relationships with the sponsoring company,” often becoming “preferred sources of information” that provide a halo effect for the sponsoring company. And, not least, such publications have a “significant positive impact on purchase behavior.”

Each custom publication has its own life cycle. A typical product requires 14 to 16 weeks from executing an agreement through distribution. Creating each draws on Moffly’s existing staff, skills and capabilities and enables it to “create custom media on a turnkey basis” – editorial, advertising, design, layout, photography, distribution, even digitizing the product for online presentation.

Custom media works. Use it!

Roy Fuchs

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