In a world of digital pivots, RBA’s, Alex Poderoso, has been through almost every (r)evolution over the last 25+ years.
Once aspiring to become a journalist, his career plans took a turn when in the 1990s, he was inspired by, and “became enamoured” with, personal computing. The wonders of the Internet quickly cemented a new career choice: code over words.
From here, his career trajectory saw him work in various industries, but with most of his experience in news and magazine media, the journalist in him wasn’t left too far behind!
Fast forward to 2023, and today Alex is Barcelona-based RBA’s Director of Digital, where he works closely with colleagues on digital transformation and innovation across the group’s vast portfolio covering multiple markets in Europe and Latin America.
RBA is a family-owned business built on books, magazines and partworks. The legacy continues, but, today, the difference – of which Alex is clearly proud – is “creating versatile content for any medium, format and market” and “that is distinguished by its quality and the prestige of the brands for which it is produced.”
As RBA’s Director of Digital, Alex wears multiple hats. He works across RBA as an internal advisor, counselling divisional CEOs and other colleagues on all digital activities: organisation, product, monetisation, technology and more. He stays informed and advises on “any news, innovations, studies, events, competitor activity and so on” relevant to RBA’s decision-making around digital.
Alex, who will be one of our speakers at Mx3 Barcelona, which takes place in RBA’s auditorium on 12-13 March 2024 (more about it below), answered a few quick-fire questions ahead of the event.
The evolution of magazine media:
RBA is audience-first. Its strength is its solutions-oriented content. RBA brings together top experts and quality content in all its magazine media channels to address audiences’ information needs. Continuously adapting to evolving user needs and providing high-quality content in the right channel to maximise engagement are critical components for any magazine media brand looking to thrive in the digital age.
The power of niches:
With the digital landscape inundated with information of questionable quality and authority, Alex believes that niche media brands are perfectly positioned to play a role in addressing the interests and needs of audiences in the segments where they operate. The power of niche brands lies in their expert-driven content, which stands out in a sea of generic information. By providing authoritative answers and insights, they provide real differentiation that audiences value.
In keeping with its audience-first approach, innovation at RBA is first and foremost driven by reader needs. For example, RBA has developed its capabilities to detect and predict the topics online users will find most interesting, including the format (e.g., text or video) in which it is delivered and the channel (e.g., newsletter, website, social) in which it is done. Innovation is iterative. “We constantly refine our strategies to better serve our audiences.”
As for many other media companies, advertising remains a primary revenue source at RBA. The company continues to develop revenue streams such as subscriptions and e-commerce, but not to displace advertising, where Alex sees continuously evolving new opportunities. It is not about replacement, but about diversification and overall revenue growth.
The AI question:
RBA closely watches AI developments with a mixture of optimism and concern. Of concern is how people might in future engage with content produced by publishers, but without the means for publishers to monetise it. On the plus side, there are ways in which AI can assist in production processes and enhance productivity. And overall, Alex believes that media brands producing authentic, trustworthy and high-quality content will remain in high demand.
Other challenges and opportunities:
The main challenge is for publishers to adapt to the ever-shifting digital landscape where everything is volatile and happens at a rapid pace: algorithms, traffic sources, social media platforms, the post-cookie world, AI-driven content providers, etc. “All of this impacts on how we organise, deliver and monetise our content.”
For innovative publishers, there are also plenty of opportunities. Experimentation is the key. “Every time we try something new, we engage more users, we can make better content, and we can move closer to our audiences’ everyday interests and needs.” The journey might be fraught with challenges, but with foresight and innovation, Alex believes the future remains promising.
At Mx3 Barcelona:
Alex will share a case study about the hugely successful transformation of women’s magazine brand Clara. First launched in 1992 it now boasts around 13 million monthly users and is one of Spain’s most popular media brands. He will share how Clara’s success is built on an ever-growing community (called Clara tribes), video, newsletters, e-commerce and more.
Mx3 Barcelona focuses squarely on media innovation, with some emphasis on innovation in and across media verticals. The programme includes creator-led, consumer and B2B media speakers. See more and sign up at mx3barcelona.com.
We hope to see you there!
Co-founder and COO
Media Makers Meet – Mx3