Q: T3 is relaunching. Can you give us a rundown on exactly what’s happening?
A: T3’s been on a good run since January; we’re up year on year so far thanks to some very good work from the team. But the brand’s been in need of a refresh for a while now. We wanted to get the focus within the magazine back onto celebrating great technology and gadgets and importantly, helping people choose their next piece of kit. At the same time, we wanted to re-platform the website, improving its performance for readers and advertisers. We’ve completely overhauled the digital edition as well, making the user experience slicker while also improving our ability to promote it across our portfolio. And finally, we’re also launching this year’s T3 Awards. So it’s a huge piece of work across every aspect of the brand.
Q: So why relaunch T3 now?
A: T3 is Future’s main multiplatform brand but it was starting to show its age. The team and I felt there was just a better, more entertaining and more useful magazine to be had, both in terms of what T3 was delivering but also in terms of our competitors. Consumer technology is the hottest industry in the world; it’s poised for explosive growth as technology becomes further integrated into lifestyles thanks to the Internet of Things, but you wouldn’t know it from the gadget mags. We’ve always thought of T3 as a tech lifestyle brand, so with its current momentum, and the opportunity in front of it, we felt it was the ideal time to get behind it and give it a push.
Q: What can the readers of T3 expect that was different from before?
A: The magazine is physically larger - we want it to stand out on the news-stand and provide more space to show kit off to the best effect. Every part of the magazine has been overhauled - there’s four new sections, each celebrating or recommending technology in some way. There’s extra How-To advice reflecting the difficulties that people increasingly have connecting up their kit so it works optimally. There’s a couple of new feature strands, one which puts kit and people into extreme circumstances. And we’ve tried to make our coverage more accessible, even the high end stuff.
Q: T3 Squared is a new proposition. Why offer a covermount rather than include it as content?
A: We wanted to make something that was different and would stand out… and would be attractive to our commercial partners as a result. Hence a square magazine inevitably called T3 Squared… Editorially, we wanted something that would enable us to go deeper into specific verticals as well, given T3’s wide and varied remit. Separating it also gives more options for creative execution should our partners want to do something different, whether that’s playing with paper stock, or belly wrapping it, or sponsoring it. Putting something into the magazine would have reduced its impact. Also, we wanted a nice value add for the news-stand, so we’ll be bagging it every month from now on.
Q: You’ve invested heavily in the magazine. It feels a little against the mood of the industry. Why is that?
A: I think our magazine sector (men’s technology) has become complacent. T3 has been winning readers recently because we’ve been focusing on doing some of the basics better. So it follows that if we do a better mag as well, we’ll win more. There’s readers to be had if you compete for them. Also, Future is a multi platform company. We reach people via all sorts of media and channels, and the magazine is still an important part of that mix. So you have to get behind it and serve your readers the best you can, however they choose to engage with you.
Q: Future have recently done their TechMonitor research which takes a look at the consumer tech industry as a whole. Can you let us know more about this?
A: Yes, TechMonitor is our bi-annual research project where we survey 3,000 consumers in a very detailed way, down to doing individual interviews, on their attitudes to brands and technology, their behaviours and intentions, and their feelings about technology. This enables us to segment the market and talk to our commercial partners about each segment, and how their brands are perceived, and the value of each segment to them. This year, we discovered some interesting things about where wearables are going, as well as some real frustrations about the difficulties of connectivity within and across ecosystems. This was apparent across all segments, even the more tech savvy ones, which was unexpected, and fascinating. Techmonitor is commissioned by Future from The Source, an independent research company, and we’ll be sharing the results with T3’s clients and partners.