As if everyone is not already jumping into the wagon as being content/product/service producer-distributor-retailer-advertiser all rolled in one: Porter, the latest fashion magazine just launched in London, is a product of Net-a-Porter, high-end fashion web retailer, and another example of the convergence between commerce and content. Never mind the website doesn’t turn over a profit – the venture is worth 2.5 billion in Euros, and the value may further increase with the extension of commerce/content from website to print.
Just as shoppers on the website click on images in adverts and articles to purchase items, Porter readers who download Net-a-Porter’s app will be able to scan its pages to shop, or just show images to their friends.
Women who shop for high-end fashion online still turn to print magazines for inspiration, and Porter sounds like a good attempt to connect both worlds, even if it is simply a classier, glossier version of the Sears catalog. But what is changing in business and marketing is the boundary between writing about goods and services, and selling them. While the product used to be the story, the story is now increasingly part of the product, or the product itself. (Why else should a company like Red Bull spend any money on Project Stratos, and establishing its own media house? Chief Executive of Net-a-Porter, Mark Sebba, provides a telling comment to WSJ: “As of today, retailing activity pays the rent. But we are a media company.”) The worry is that everything becomes an advertorial, an advertisement under the guise of advice. The upside is that there is going to be demand for great content, and it is to great media producers that the spoils will go.