We’re excited to bring you the next installation of our “Meet the Team” interview series, where we share what our team members are doing to help media-rich industries across the globe. Today, we share our interview with Rob Underwood from the ZINIO team.
Director of Digital Solutions
Why did you get into the media and publishing industry?
I originally started my journey with a degree in graphic arts. I knew I wanted to be creative. After I got my first job in a busy newsroom, I knew I wanted to be part of the publishing industry. In the last 25 years, I’ve really enjoyed the journey I’ve had being part of the publishing industry. I’ve been an application instructor, implemented editorial workflows, jumped on board the digital bandwagon, and now have a new role in sales.
What is one of the most important lessons you have learned while working in this field?
Be kind to everyone, treat others as you would want to be treated. The publishing industry is actually a small world, and you will cross paths with all the players in this industry again and again.
What has been one of the most interesting trends you have seen in the industry in the past six months?
In the past six months, we have seen a lot of magazines move to a digital only membership model. With the cost of print skyrocketing, more and more publishers are looking into digital only solutions. Also, selling the content as a membership that includes access to your digital archives, current subscription, and web content is becoming more appealing. Publishers are realizing they need to include this all under one umbrella, and that selling these things separately infuriates readers.
What are some of the things people should keep an eye out for in the next year?
Accessibility is something that publishers absolutely need to address. Making their content easily accessible for the disabled is a top priority. This is coupled with the rise of audio. I believe we will see more and more publishers offering their content in an audio version.
What’s a fun fact you’d like to share with our readers?
There is a hallway in the New York office of Rolling Stone that has every cover ever printed. It’s a pretty special feeling to walk down that hallway. Also, if you collect Rolling Stone, for the past two years, they have been printing a small piece of their logo in the spine with every issue. Now when you display the issues on a book shelf, the issues lined up actually create the logo for Rolling Stone Magazine.
Who is your role model and why?
Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. He was the backbone of that band, and his creativity and unique voice really pushed the limits of that genre of music. Every project he touched had his own personal style on it, and he wasn’t afraid to fail. Paul’s Boutique is a masterpiece.
Can you tell us about one of the coolest things you have worked on?
Helping build the 1st Rolling Stone magazine Beatle’s app using Adobe DPS. This was at the beginning of the iPad revolution when every publisher wanted to have their own app. It was surreal for me to work at a magazine that I grew up idolizing. To be part of that creation process with a brand I love was an honor.