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BMW & Medium collaborate to publish a new digital magazine focused on design.


Medium’s Ev Williams and team (photo from New York Times)

Medium is perhaps the most “buzzworthy” start-up in the red-hot digital publishing space. Founded by Ev Williams (co-founder of Twitter & Blogger), Medium was conceived with a simple mission in mind; a place for people to read and write. Over the last two years, it has quickly emerged as the publishing platform of choice for many of the thought leaders who were early influencers on Twitter. Medium is fusing the traditional ways of publishing, where professional editors rule the roost, with the new way, which puts a bigger premium on “community journalism.”  It’s a platform similar to a magazine, but one that anyone can write for, where algorithms and editors work together to surface the best writing to its growing reader-base, now over 12 million people every monthly.

“Now that we’ve made sharing information virtually effortless, how do we increase depth of understanding, while also creating a level playing field that encourages ideas that come from anywhere?” – Ev Williams

BMW 4 Series & Medium – Brand as Publisher While Medium’s entire focus has been on nurturing their growing community and attracting top editorial talent –this effort being led by Evan Hansen, previously Editor– they’ve had an eye towards exploring how brands could become part of the experience. When brought Medium an opportunity to partner with BMW and produce a digital magazine focused on the topic of design, it was match made in heaven from both an audience and editorial perspective. The end result is “re:form” –  BMW’s debut as the first brand partnership with Medium; and also the first look at an innovative business strategy, where brands add-value to Medium by underwriting great journalism (see Ad Age piece here)

BMW & Medium will collaborate to publish engaging, editorially independent content around the many interesting facets of design, aligning with the BMW 4 Series branding and messaging goals.. re:form will also include BMW-specific branded content, such as Q&As with BMW design engineers. This is the latest example of a growing trend of brands evolving beyond traditional digital advertising, to take on the role of publishers. While some might group this trend as the rise of “native advertising”, this ambitious effort to create a new magazine, with quality content from leading writers, is a genuine leap forward. It’s advertising that’s additive. BMW isn’t interrupting the Medium experience, but instead, making it better. Rather than relying on outdated metrics such as impressions and clicks (CTR) that aren’t relevant to Medium’s user experience, the success of this partnership will be measured by a new metric: “Total Time Read.” “TTR” is the same metric Medium uses to measure the success of its own platform, and Medium’s audience has grown to love the output of “TTR” data, when each post includes an estimate of how long it will take a user to read it.

What’s Next?  Medium will continue to be pragmatic about it’s future advertising partnerships, but hopes to build upon the framework established by re:form — pairing top brands with engaging content that aligns with their attributes and campaign messaging. Current publications in the works include a music project helmed by “Shecky” Green who founded the legendary Source magazine and helped EDM take over pop culture in recent years. Additionally, a sports oriented publication, “The Cauldron”, is quickly picking up steam, as well as the pop culture /media oriented “Matter” which has received rave reviews and a has a rapidly growing following. Please contact (here) if you’re interested in learning more about partnering with Medium.