In this week’s episode of Media Voices, we speak to Refinery29’s Jacqui Kavanagh about the brand’s success in Europe since it launched in 2015, about what authenticity means to brands and audiences, and why experiential is a growth industry.

In the news round-up, the gang discuss the Guardian’s return to black, some unfortunate closures at news sites we’ve long admired, and whether Facebook’s plan to have The People judge the trustworthiness of news outlets is a good idea (no, but what’s the alternative?)

We’re reading:

In our own words: Chris Sutcliffe

Refinery29 in Europe has been one of the great publishing success stories of the past two years, which its Vice President of Sales & Brand Partnerships in Europe Jacqui Kavanagh puts down to the authenticity of experience it enables between brand and audience.

From live events like 29Rooms, which Kavanagh says was proof of concept that an audience can have agency in a publisher-led experience, to some of the publisher’s video content created in concert with high-profile stars, Kavanagh says there’s an ongoing sea change in how brands want to reach audiences:

“If we’re pitching them something they’ll ask ‘is that how you would run it, editorially?’ That’s something I think we’re going to continue to see.”

That success is due in part to Refinery29’s data-driven understanding of its audience, the issues that affect her and the editorial campaigns it can launch around those topics. The Shatterbox anthology, for instance, is a series of 12 short films designed to address the lack of visibility of women in the film industry.

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