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Magazines Must Move Faster in the Age of Apps, Says Hearst's Troy Young

"There’s always a shit-ton of work to do to build a new media brand."

Amelia Krales for Re/code

For hundreds of years, curated periodical magazines thrived and survived — the "cockroaches of the media world," as Hearst’s Troy Young once heard them described. Now, Young’s mission is to build a better cockroach.

Speaking on the latest episode of Re/code Media with Peter Kafka, Young explained how he developed a unified digital strategy for the 19 diverse properties under Hearst’s magazine division, where he is the president of digital operations. He said one of the challenges was figuring out how to preserve the spirit of iconic brands like Cosmopolitan while losing unnecessary baggage.

"The muscle that had been developed for decades around a top-down, quality-driven, curatorial process, with extreme focus and detail in the edit … that whole process and way of thinking about content was standing in the way of progress," Young said. "So we changed it."

He also praised Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s newsletter, LennyLetter, as an example of celebrity-brand media done right. And he explained how Hearst is using Snapchat Discover through its Sweet and Cosmopolitan channels, the latter of which attracts 2.5 million readers per day, who spend an average of eight minutes per visit.

"There’s always a shit-ton of work to do to build a new media brand," Young said.

You can listen to or download the episode in the audio player above. And make sure to subscribe to Re/code Media with Peter Kafka on iTunes, which you can do right here. You can also find the show on Stitcher and TuneIn.

Peter Kafka will be back next Thursday to talk to FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver.

Want more podcasts? Okay! Try Re/code Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, which you can subscribe to here. Or there’s Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara and Lauren Goode from The Verge, which will have a new episode tomorrow. Click here to subscribe to Too Embarrassed to Ask on iTunes.

Finally, don’t miss Re/code Replay, where we’ve posted audio from Peter’s Code/Media 2016 conference, including Kara Swisher’s interview with Cosmo editor Joanna Coles. To subscribe to that, click right here.

You can follow @Recode on Twitter for the latest on upcoming guests.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Peter. You can also suggest guests for the show, and we’ll do our best to nab them for an interview.

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