Public Link in conversation with Head of Marketing & Sales Ferdinand Christ

© Ferdinand Christ

Public Link in conversation with Head of Marketing & Sales Ferdinand Christ

Month: March
Year: 2021

The media industry is in a transitional phase. The Corona crisis is accelerating the digitization of our everyday lives, and mass media have been fighting for readership and viewer numbers not just since the pandemic. How does this development affect the special interest magazine sector?

Pulse Publishing is one of the largest special interest publishers in Germany. 12 magazines are published in print and digital under the umbrella of the leading marketer for a young and trend-oriented target group. The topics range from sports and travel to fashion and culture. According to the editors, they attach great importance to presenting their stories authentically and thus mirroring the lifestyle of the readers. In this interview, Ferdinand Christ, Head of Marketing & Sales at Pulse Publishing, shares his thoughts on how the media industry is changing and what he would like to see from agencies and companies in the future. 

PL: Ferdinand, your titles are primarily tailored to a modern and dynamic target group. How have you perceived the media consumption habits of your readers in recent years? 

Ferdinand Christ: Consumption behavior in the media has shifted extremely in the direction of social media and influencers in recent years. But you can see that social media is not necessarily social media. Some platforms gain, some decline rapidly, and only a few remain consistent. Nevertheless, our trend magazines are still popular and the sites remain well frequented. 

PL: As a publishing house, how have you responded to these developments? Did new formats or channels emerge or become more relevant in recent years? 

Ferdinand: As an independent medium and a publisher focused mainly on online platforms, we can respond to topics and innovations in a much more targeted way. “Service” is in pole position for us. But current features, news and stories also form other cornerstones with which we can successfully hold our own. 

PL: Many of your competitors have had a tough time financially in recent months – some titles no longer exist. In the midst of media change and the pandemic, what ways do you see to keep media houses solid?  

Ferdinand: The media – whether print or online – are having a harder time than ever. Many of our competitors have been able to just about keep their heads above water through savings, but these are very short-term funds that most of them have at their disposal. So I think it’s good that there are opportunities, for example through crowdfunding campaigns or government aid, to be able to continue pursuing your vision. We all have one goal – to share our passion and get more people involved in sports, to support and inform them. 

PL: What’s your take on paid journalism – potential option for funding, or rather exclusively advertising and brand deals? 

Ferdinand: That’ s a very difficult question! Paid journalism is definitely a potential funding option within a conditional framework. However, it should definitely not be too promotional and should also offer space for criticism. Classic brand deals and advertising still exist, but nowhere near what they were five years ago, for example. It is therefore important to constantly create new marketing formats in these areas. 

PL: How has working with PR agencies and brand managers changed in the past few years? 

Ferdinand: The expectation of many PR agencies and brands is that we, as media, share a press release selflessly and immediately through our channels. As soon as it comes to financial cooperation, on the other hand, responses are rare – and that’s a damn shame, because there are an enormous number of approaches that would offer the brands or products added media value. Unfortunately, for those responsible, this is often not even an option. 

Whether it’s with a large corporation, a small shop or a traditional PR agency, partnerships must be fair in both directions.

PL: What would you like to see in terms of the development of the industry? 

Ferdinand: From minute one, we have helped to build up sports in particular, communicated it, and offered a platform – and at the same time we have also helped to build up the surrounding brands. More people should remember this before they once again waste their tight marketing budgets on giveaways and influencers.

PL: Thank you for answering our questions!