For the past decade, the dream of marrying content with commerce inside media companies has produced more letdowns than wins.
But, over the past year, two of the media companies with the biggest online audiences — the New York Times and BuzzFeed — have started taking a fresh crack at converting their readers into online buyers.
Last year, the Times spent around $30 million to acquire The Wirecutter, a pair of product review sites that make money when a reader clicks a link and goes on to purchase one of the reviewed items on a partner retailer’s site.
Around the same time, BuzzFeed created Product Labs: A team that is designing and selling goods based on existing BuzzFeed brands like Tasty, as well as new products being conceived from scratch.
I’m excited to share that the two executives leading these efforts will appear onstage at Recode’s Code Commerce conference, taking place in New York City on September 13 and 14.
In a conversation with Peter Kafka, they’ll discuss how readership data influences their commerce efforts and why they believe media companies can succeed in commerce today despite a trail of failures littering the landscape up until this point.
David Perpich is a longtime senior executive at the New York Times who at one time helped create the paper’s successful digital paywall. Now, as the president and general manager of The Wirecutter, he’s tasked with growing that business’ affiliate commerce revenue stream while finding new ways to integrate e-commerce into other parts of The New York Times.
Ben Kaufman has long been fascinated with new product innovation, having founded the popular gadget accessory company Mophie as well as the online invention platform Quirky. At BuzzFeed, Kaufman is trying to build products that can go as viral as some of its best content does, while aggressively pursuing new affiliate commerce models, too.
Perpich and Kaufman join Blue Apron CEO Matt Salzberg and star industry investor Kirsten Green as the first group of industry leaders we’ve announced as speakers for the September event.
Each week, we plan to reveal new additions to this lineup from fast-growing e-commerce startups to traditional brick-and-mortar retailers adapting to the digital sea change.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.