Publishers use their audiences, creative services and their editorial judgment as selling points when they’re vying for advertising dollars. A growing number of them are trying to use those same ingredients to cook up consumer products they can sell directly to their audiences on their own, or on behalf of big-spending ad partners.
Less than one year after it acquired a direct-selling operation in Rodale, Hearst has already developed and launched one high-end consumer product — a yoga mat — and it plans to bring eight to 10 other products to market next year. Meredith quietly launched a brand products lab this fall and is weeks away from its first consumer product launch, with several more products in the pipes for 2019. BuzzFeed’s commerce team, which has developed full product lines for its brands Tasty and Goodful, also offers product development sprints as a service to advertisers; it’s helped brands including Scott’s and Maybelline develop ideas for products.
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