LONDON, United Kingdom — Amid falling advertising revenue and declining print sales, events and experiences are becoming key for publishers to diversify revenue streams while simultaneously engaging readers.
The latest comes from Hearst-owned British Elle, which is launching Elle Weekender, the magazine’s first immersive, consumer-facing event, which will fuse talks, interactive activities and shopping at the Saatchi Gallery in London.
The result of a collaboration between the Hearst events team and the Elle editorial team, Elle Weekender will take place between November 30 and December 2, and is expected to attract 5,000 visitors over the three-day period. Ticket prices start at £15 ($19.40) for event access, with speaker events starting at £20 ($25.90).
The launch is part of a wider push on events from parent publisher Hearst UK, which doubled its events team last year with the view to hosting over 100 events by the end of 2018 across titles including Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Red.
Young women want these experiential moments. Creating an Instagram moment is such an important part of their daily lives.
The Elle Weekender speaker programme spans fashion and beauty, fitness and wellbeing, music, politics, and film and TV, with Instagram’s Eva Chen, Kering sustainability chief Marie Claire Daveau, actor Maisie Williams, photographer Sam McKnight, singer Jessie Ware, spiriting champion Dina Asher-Smith, writer and “Slay in Your Lane, The Black Girl Bible” author Yomi Adegoke and the Labour Party’s Lily Madigan among those confirmed to talk.
The magazine has also partnered with brands on a retail pop-up shop dubbed the “Elle Market” (Curtis could not confirm the brands that would be present, only noting they were “brands that we know our audience love”). Shoppers will also be able to customise purchases or partake in styling sessions and photo shoots. Other activities range from Beyoncé-inspired workouts and meditation workshops to master classes on “The Power of Assertion” and beauty treatments.
The initiative builds on the success of smaller scale events the magazine has been hosting (past panel discussions include “Want To Be A Writer?” with Sharlene Teo and Zing Tsjeng, to “How to Future-Proof Yourself” with Karen O’Donoghue, Emma Cannon and Lady Lilac), which editor-in-chief Anne Marie Curtis says are popular among readers and sell out very quickly.
“Young women now really want these experiential moments. Creating an Instagram moment is such an important part of their daily lives,” she said.
Curtis noted how today’s reader expects to be a part of a media brand’s conversation, rather than just a passive consumer. “[It] is a really important shift editorially now,” she said. “So it was really reacting to what I felt we needed to be doing to move forward.”
Titles at rival publisher Condé Nast are also looking to capitalising on the opportunity: this year, Glamour US’ annual Women of the Year Awards will encompass a three-day event accessible to consumers, while Vogue Paris and Vogue Italia have both debuted consumer-facing events over the past year.