Q. Why has Future decided to combine Total Film, SFX and GamesRadar?
A. Simply put: this is our chance to build the biggest games, entertainment and geek culture site in the world. For years, Future has served all these communities and today we see that there's an opportunity to cross-pollinate these groups of people. We know there is a huge crossover of interest in the topics of games, films and TV and our plan is to create a joined-up website experience where you can get exclusive content on all these things in one place. Future has experts in the areas of film, TV, games and sci-fi, who create world class content for the existing brands, and this will help bring it all to a wider audience, using the technically superior GamesRadar platform, which is better for mobile and social sharing than TotalFilm.com and SFX.co.uk were.
Q. What will be happening to Total Film and SFX’s websites and social media? Will they lose their independent voice?
A. The Total Film and SFX voices are important and have always been a part of the brands' success. We want to bring their expertise and personality into the GamesRadar+ fold. Their websites will simply redirect to GamesRadar+ which is where all the articles and reviews will exist now. But the popular social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter where the combined reach is an astonishing 750,000 plus, will remain. Readers can still use them to chat with the magazine teams they trust.
Q. GamesRadar already has a substantial following in the UK and in the US. By migrating these three sites, will it jeopardise the content the readers of GamesRadar are used to and won't Total Film and SFX readers also suffer in the same way?
A. Everything is additional as the + title suggests! The GamesRadar games coverage isn't changing at all and those readers who aren't interested in TV and film can bypass the new content and carry on getting exactly the same service as before. Likewise the readers who are coming over with Total Film and SFX can just bookmark the TV or movies feeds if games aren't their bag. But if you are interested in everything, the full mix is available and easily accessible. Already we're seeing definite interest in the new mix - in the week of launch, four of the top 10 articles have been movie related and in fact the most popular article on GamesRadar+ during its first week was Total Film's list of the 50 best Christmas movies!
Q. How has this affected the editorial teams?
A. Very little, except we're seeing the best ever collaboration between the editorial teams. The SFX and Total Film teams are coordinating on uploading stories to the new channels on GamesRadar+ instead of to their individual older blogs. The games team are still doing what they do best and generating daily games stories, but also sharing the benefit of their experience with the film and TV teams. But it's the same familiar faces you know. And, of course, the magazines Total Film and SFX are unchanged.
Q. Why a TV channel? This is not something Future has a history with. Also what is the Cool Stuff channel?
A. TV is going through something of a golden age at the moment; the variety, depth and quality of TV drama rivals the big screen right now. Cult hits have gone mainstream and everybody's talking about the end of Breaking Bad or planning to sit round and watch Doctor Who with the family on Christmas day. We know our core market - geeks, gamers, pop culture enthusiasts - all love well-written TV series, things like Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead. So ours is not a channel about general interest TV, soaps or reality shows! Quality cult TV drama is what everybody's watching and our writers know how to cover it best. SFX magazine has a history spanning almost 20 years of previewing and reviewing fantasy, sci-fi, horror and cult TV shows, and we're bringing that expertise to the GamesRadar+ mix with news on the biggest genre hits and detailed weekly episode guides.
Cool Stuff gives us editorial freedom to explore and promote aspects of geek culture that we love, without being constrained by the review format. It's a channel where we can draw readers' attention to things we think are cool and fun. It could be books, t-shirts, events, board games - anything our in-the-know editors are passionate about, even toys and soundtracks.
Q. With a hub style entertainment site rather than a specific movie, tv/sci-fi and gaming sites, are you not cutting off commercial partners?
A. On the contrary, we anticipate advertisers and sponsors will love the scale that this combined site brings. Early conversations with our videogame clients suggest that adding more content to the mix and bringing in new audiences appeals to them. What GamesRadar+ delivers at the end of the day is more people in one place, sharing and talking on a range of topics; commercial partners can work with us to put their products in front of a bigger, broader demographic. Imagine the value to our Blu-ray distributing clients of interacting with gamers as well as film fans in one hit. A standardised site template means that it's easier than ever to advertise with us; we're not trying to sell a range of sites all with different ad shapes serving small communities. It's now a one-stop shop. And we're already seeing interest from big partners - both Netflix and Sky are partnering with the new channels in the weeks ahead. They'll be pleased to see that some of the most consumed articles on this huge entertainment site are from the movie and TV streams.
Q. Okay, so with that in mind, what do you see as the overall benefits to the consumer and commercial partners?
A. It's the size of the new site and the ready availability of this grand mix of content which benefits everybody. Commercial partners will benefit from the increased scale of GamesRadar+ and the ease with which they can promote products to a range of like-minded people via one, easy point of contact. The consumer is simply getting more of what they enjoyed before, plus easy access to other content produced by Future experts. And it's on a better platform that's great for the mobile experience, something users of TotalFilm.com and SFX.co.uk long knew needed improving. It's a broad choice of geek entertainment stories, on a great new platform, with Future's experts all working together towards one vision. And that's re-energising the editorial with things like the Cool Stuff channel and ever more TV reviews.
Q. You say the site is truly international. How will it be managed and will there be localised content?
A. The site is global and has permanent staff in all three offices in the UK, US and Australia and there are managers in all offices. The overall governance and vision of the GamesRadar+ brand belongs to Global Editor-in-Chief Sophia Tong in the US; but this is really a project about bringing experts together and our two award-winning film mags are based in the UK, so the day-to-day running of the film and TV channels will therefore belong to me in Bath. But it's 2014, the world never sleeps and it doesn't mind where the best stories are sourced; TV, movies and games are international phenomena and we'll commission content accordingly. Not all the film and TV articles are coming straight from the magazine teams; we are commissioning fresh freelance features from writers in the US and UK to supplement what we are already producing. Collaboration is key and Future already has experience in this, since GamesRadar has been a joint project between US and UK games writers since its original launch in 2005.