Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Think Globally, Publish Locally; Success Overseas Requires Giving Up Control to Those Who Know the Language and Culture, Say Experienced Publishers

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Think Globally, Publish Locally; Success Overseas Requires Giving Up Control to Those Who Know the Language and Culture, Say Experienced Publishers

Article excerpt

Think globally, publish locally

NEW YORK CITY--Publishing globally is like growing a tomato, said Kenneth Gordon, president of the International Group of The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. "You can grow the tomato and send it to another country, or you can take the seeds, plant them in German soil, water them, nurture them, and they will thrive as German tomatoes."

Reader's Digest has planted seeds in 39 countries, and the companies nurturing those seeds are "all local, with local editions and editors for local customers," Gordon said. "The key is strong local presence; know the market and what it wants."

Strong local presence is key

Gordon, speaking at the Magazine Publishing Congress, was one of several multinational publishers who stressed that success depends on local talent running the show.

Meredith Corporation, for example, runs its South Korean Better Homes and Gardens "with 100 percent local staff," said Burt Boersma, senior vice president and group publisher.

Hearst, which has numerous licensing ventures overseas, insists on a strong local editor, said George Green, executive vice president and group publishing director of Hearst Magazines. "Every one of our products is content-driven," he said. "We don't want and we will not accept a warmed-over U.S. edition. The easiest thing to find in the world today is money; it's far more difficult to find a good editor or a good writer."

Conde Nast insists that editors in chief enjoy autonomy and independence, president Barnard Leser told attendees. …

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