Studio 1854, our rapidly growing visual content agency, was awarded The Great Leap Forward Award at last night’s Professional Publishers Association Awards. “The brave decision to redirect Studio 1854 away from advertising has allowed all other areas of the business to develop,” said the judges, “it was a unanimous choice.” Beano Studios and nominees from The Economist Group, Haymarket Media Group, and Condé Nast Publications were among the seven others shortlisted for the prize.
The Professional Publishers Association is the primary media industry body in the country; the Awards were judged by an impressive panel of editors and media owners. 1854 Media has won three prizes at The PPA Awards over the past two years. In 2016, British Journal of Photography was named Consumer Media Brand of the Year, and our Portrait of Britain exhibition received Digital Innovation of the Year. In 2017, 1854 Media was awarded the Publishing Innovator of the Year Award.
“2017 was a pivotal year for our business,” says Marc Hartog, CEO, 1854 Media,“ it culminated in a complete rebrand from Apptitude Media to 1854 Media, a multi-platform digital media business, and the launch of our new visual content agency – Studio 1854.” With advertising as we used to understand it – interruptive, heavily branded and in your face – effectively over, 1854 Media made the bold leap to transform its commercial arm into a visual content agency. “We had to risk everything,” continues Hartog, “we revisited not just what we do and how we do it, but also the very essence of why we exist. This culminated in the re-brand, and a new manifesto to clarify our vision and reboot our focus.”
By partnering with major clients and brands, Studio 1854 creates paid opportunities for its community of photographers, while also generating compelling content for its digital readership. Recent projects include Separation: What does Brexit mean for love? – a series of portraits by the award-winning photographer Laura Pannack that explore couples forced to contemplate separation in the wake of Brexit, supported by Affinity Photo – and The DJI Drone Photography Award – a competition calling for photographers across the world to submit ideas for creative, drone-shot projects, supported by DJI.
“Publishers everywhere are under pressure to innovate as brands shift from conventional advertising to a more content-based approach,” says Pax Zoega, Head of Agency, Studio 1854. “Ironically, although many media businesses are struggling to adjust, we are best placed to benefit from these changes because we are already in the business of creating content. At 1854, we also have another huge advantage: the fact that our audiences are content creators as well. So, in a very real sense, this award is for the incredible visual artists in our readership too; they are a fundamental part of what Studio 1854 offers its clients.”
“Taking a risk worked,” reflects Hartog, “1854 Media now exists to curate the best contemporary photography for an international audience; to provide a platform to help photographers succeed, and to help brands create standout visual content.” Despite being just five years old, 1854 Media has continually innovated in what is a rapidly evolving media landscape within a sector facing increasing pressure. “Without question, 2017 represents our boldest year to date: pivoting away from our traditional model and launching Studio 1854 – our greatest leap forward yet.”