It was a big night for legacy publishers at this year’s Digiday Publishing Awards. The 159-year-old Atlantic won the award for Publisher of the Year, and Time won Best in Show for its series “A Year in Space,” chronicling astronaut Scott Kelly’s year in the International Space Station. The Washington Post and the Financial Times also received honors, along with digital native outlets such as Gawker, Refinery29 and Legacy.com.
The gala, held at the Cutting Room in New York and hosted by MTV Girl Code’s Chris DiStefano, brought together hundreds of publishers to celebrate innovation in digital media and marketing.
Vox Media won Best Use of Multimedia in Storytelling for its review of the Apple Watch, one of The Verge’s most-shared stories of 2015. “We knew we were in big competition. We knew we had to do something bigger and better,” said Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge, after receiving the award.
One of the first awards of the evening, Best Native Advertising, went to Studio@Gawker, Gawker Media’s branded content arm, for its work on Hulu’s original comedy “Difficult People,” starring Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner.
The Washington Post won for Best Mobile App, thanks to Team Rainbow, which worked with the Post to create two different versions of the website and mobile app to reach social users.
Women’s lifestyle publisher Refinery29 won Best Brand Partnership for its fall outfit content around the September 2015 launch of U.K. retail giant Primark.
Time Magazine’s series “A Year in Space” won for Best Use of Video.
Best Publishing Innovation in Advertising went to USA Today for Gravity. “We had a lot of pushback [within the organization],” said Megan Crowe, senior product manager. But the challenge was worth it: Almost 80 percent of people watched the entire video, she said.
The Financial Times won Best Use of Technology by a Publisher for its homegrown Cost Per Hour (CPH) metric to better monetize display ads. Next up for the FT: Launching Cost Per Hour on mobile and getting more publishers and media buyers using the metric, says Brendan Spain, commercial director.
Best New Brand Publication went to Legacy.com for The Recipe Vault, a series highlighting the importance of food in how people are remembered after their death. “We wanted to get people thinking about their own legacy,” said Halley Burns, senior managing editor, content and social. “It’s more about a person’s life.”
And, as always, sex still sells: People Magazine won Best Audience Development Strategy for Sexiest Man Alive.
The Atlantic’s 2015 site revamp won the award for Best Publishing Site Design. Conceived and built in-house, the new site emphasizes visuals to engage readers on mobile and on desktop.
Hearst Media won Best New Publisher for its relaunched food and cooking site Delish.com. Studio@Gawker won for Best Content Studio. The Atlantic won Publisher of the Year for “original thinking, creativity and overall excellence in its approach to publishing and media across all editorial efforts.”
Time Magazine won Best in Show for its “Year in Space” series. Chosen by the Digiday editorial team (the rest of the awards were chosen by a panel jury), the series covered a seminal moment in human history by incorporating video and regular coverage of Kelly’s interstellar experiences.
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