Management shake-up at Mag+ as former CEO Staffan Ekholm returns to lead platform
With the move, Gregg Hano, who has led Mag+ since April of 2012, will be leaving the company, while co-founder and chief creative officer Mike Haney remains on board
There are changes to report at the digital publishing platform Mag+. Gregg Hano, who was named CEO of Mag+ in April of 2012, will be replaced by founder and former CEO Staffan Ekholm. Ekholm led Mag+ in its earliest days, following its spin off by Bonner, and has held the title of SVP since Hano came on board as CEO.
“We constantly re-evaluate our priorities, staffing and the marketplace in order to bring our clients the best product and customer service possible,” Mag+ said in a statement given to TNM. “To that end, we have recently restructured and streamlined our company, with a deeper emphasis on product portfolio development and client support. These are positive improvements for our customers.”
Ekholm will remain based in Stockholm, while Mike Haney, who is a co-founder and chief creative officer at Mag+, will maintain his role in the New York office.
Mag+ was developed by Bonnier R&D at the end of 2009. Much of the magazine industry was just beginning to think about what magazines would look like on tablets, reacting to the news that Apple was going to launch what became the iPad.
“The fall of that year was when we kicked off the project,” Mike Haney told TNM when interviewed for the book Talking Digital. “Sara Öhrvall, head of R&D moved from Stockholm to San Francisco. At the same time, we contracted with a firm in London – a digital design firm, Berg, a brilliant, brilliant, little firm – and sort of tasked them with doing the same thing along side us.”
One of the byproducts of the collaboration with Berg was a demonstration video that showed how a digital magazine might look (you can see the video in the eBook version of Talking Digital inside the iBooks Store).
The other byproduct was the first iPad app for Popular Science, released at the same time as the original iPad was launched in the U.S. The app proved so popular with readers that by the June 2012 publisher’s statement, Popular Science was able to report over 90,000 digital subscribers.
In 2011 Bonnier spun off Mag+ into its own company so that it could market the platform to other publishers.
“Mag+ was created by publishers for publishers,” Ekholm wrote in one of the new company’s first blog posts. “We boast a superb leadership and development team, with a breadth of experience in both digital and publishing. The team has already taken more than 25 magazine titles on to iPads, with others lining up in markets including the US, the UK, and across the Continent.”
In 2012, Gregg Hano, who up until then was svp of corporate sales and the technology group at Bonnier, accepted the job as CEO at Mag+.
“What excites me, and what attracted me to this role,” Hano told TNM in 2013, “is moving completely into the digital space, helping to define the future of digital publishing.”
Much of the excitement and enthusiasm for digital editions may have begun to recede, though, as sales peaked at many audited titles. Digital subscriptions at PopSci, for instance, peaked at 97,836 with the June 2013 statement, but have fallen in subsequent circ statements.
Then in July of last year came the news that Bonnier would be moving its U.S. magazines over to Adobe DPS, possibly tied to the fact that several of the magazines would be included in the Next Issue digital newsstand (which requires either a PDF or a Folio file). Possibly because of this, Mag+ has shifted gears in recent years, targeting corporate and institutional communications as much as digital magazine publishing. That market is certainly far greater in size and potential than magazine publishing – and those involved in it, sadly, appear far more enthusiastic about moving to digital than many traditional print publishers.
(No more better evidence of this than the requests I get for PDFs of stories that appear in App Publisher, some magazine professionals telling me that they find it too hard to download an app and access a digital issue.)
Many new interactive digital magazines continue to be released using the Mag+ platform. Just yesterday, for instance, TNM reported on [RE]TOUCHED Magazine which used Mag+ to launch its new Apple Newsstand app.