Patrick Yee, Executive VP, Marketing and Content Strategy, Refinery29, gets into an interesting fireside chat with Michael Sebastian, Senior News Editor, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, at the Techweek New York Summit 2015. They discuss how Refinery29, a leading digital lifestyle media company, is aligning its strategies to win over millions of users across platforms and the web.

Some of our key takeaways from the conversation:

  1. Refinery29 with Snapchat Discover:
    Patrick points out that this is a very different experience for Refinery29, as Snapchat Discover is a new type of multimedia that they are dealing with. This partnership has to do with public relations, audience diversification, and programming. Refinery29 has invested in developing cross-departmental teams between editorial and creative which are dedicated towards content for a specific platform.
  2. Creating Content for Snapchat Discover is a Challenge as it Drives 3M Visitors Regularly:
    Refinery29 has taken up this challenge and made a team of 10, that regularly creates original content for Snapchat Discover. Furthermore, the best articles on Facebook or on their sites are also leveraged; thereby, retaining the viewership/readership.
  3. Refinery29 Focuses on Proliferation of Platforms:
    For this, Refinery29 has seen an upsurge in mobile videos which create ready content. Moreover, content distribution is essential as people like to engage with content on platforms outside the site.
  4. Monetization, Another Challenge for Refinery29 With So Many Platforms in a Row:
    Snapchat Discover allows selling advertisements from their platform. Revenue can be earned either by increasing free traffic on these platforms or by paying for distribution in a different way. This is a major shift, according to Patrick, because it takes the path of media consumption from media discovery for Refinery29. Patrick reiterates, “If our content can appear on Facebook or Google at higher rates, monetization will not be the same as it’s now on our sites.”
  5. Refinery29 has a 24-Hour News Desk:
    It’s an interesting idea to Patrick as the answer lies behind one question – “How mass can we go vs. how niche can we go?” Whether it’s a mass conversation or a small group conversation, depends on the entry points. Every media platform now needs to have a unique approach to present the news tracing back to their mission and vision.
  6. Refinery29’s Major Video Ambitions:
    Refinery29 has a team of 40 members who are into video programming and production. Videos are now a new form of storytelling. Hence, videos are accessible on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram as well.

Below are some of the key points and moments from the conversation:

  • 0:27 – Michael Sebastian welcomed the audience to Techweek New York Summit 2015
  • 1:28 – Michael introduced the topic of Snapchat Discover and Refinery29’s partnership
  • 3:23 – Snapchat Discover is a huge platform for the best of social networks, magazines, and television; Refinery29 has a team to create original content for it
  • 4:45 – With emerging new platforms, Refinery29 focuses on the future of the website through highly engaged audiences
  • 8:07 – Refinery29 on monetization and media consumption, which will increase in the next 5 to 10 years
  • 10:42 – Refinery29 has a 24-hour news desk which looks into conversations that people care for
  • 13:45 – Video ambitions of Refinery29 include new video content to appear on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram
  • 16:53 – Q&A session begins: What is your opinion on ethical environment issues of fashion and beauty and the industries you cover?
  • 19:58 – How do you create strategies for content aggregators without diluting your brand image?


Patrick Yee (1)
Executive VP, Marketing and Content Strategy, Refinery29