Tina Paparone tells us more about Happenings Media.
How was Happenings Media originally conceived and started?
At Happenings Media, we began licensing a hyperlocal digital magazine model out in early 2011 based off of the success of our flagship magazine, BucksHappening.com, and are now in 15 markets and quickly growing. Happenings Media publications all maintain a lifestyle focus.
After building Bucks Happening in Bucks County, PA, we also arrived at the conclusion that passionate local entrepreneurs are best suited to launch a hyperlocal publication. We've found that our licensees come from varying backgrounds but all possess a community spirit & tenacity that can't be replicated through any amount of training. As a network, the key is in providing plenty of guidance and resources for licensees while allowing each location to build around the unique community.
What was your original vision for Happenings Media? How has that changed over time?
Regional lifestyle magazines have thrived in local communities for decades. To start, Happenings Media set out to fill the void being created by local publications failing to respond to the evolving digital environment. However, that opportunity continues to expand into beyond publishing alone into other media forms that are quickly evolving in a digital environment..
What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a license?
Dedication to learning the industry, passion for your community, & commitment to the business model.
Why should someone choose Happenings Media over other similar licenses?
Happenings Media works closely with licensees to ensure that they are provided with all the tools, resources, & training necessary to become a successful local digital publication. We recognize that each community will have it's own unique business environment. Licensees are able to get support the parent company as well as each other on a regular basis.
In the fast-paced digital world, Happenings Media is committed to keeping our products ahead of the curve so that licensees can gain access to cutting edge technologies and information.
What makes your industry attractive?
Major changes = huge opportunities!
What types of qualities do you look for in potential licensees?
Eagerness to learn; passion for their community; motivation to succeed; ability to multi-task
What do your license fees and royalties cover?
Site design & maintenance, hosting, graphic design, training materials, intranet access with a wealth of materials, business email addresses, e-mail marketing platform, frequent training calls, licensee community forum, access to regional advertising revenue
How do territories work for your licensees?
Licensees receive exclusivity in their territory, which is often at the county level. For large metropolitan areas, territories are often broken down into neighborhoods.
Why has your business model been successful?
A combination of timing, dedication to excellence, and a cooperative spirit that thrives online.
Where do you see Happenings Media in 5 years and 10 years?
Happenings Media will continue to grow, becoming a recognized & popular lifestyle publication in communities across the country. As we grow, licensees will be able to access more revenue from regional and national advertisers.
What is your favorite advice for new owners to help them succeed?
True enthusiasm for your community will carry through to your readers and advertisers.
What would you tell potential licensees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a Happenings Media?
Compared to many industries, digital publishing is an affordable business opportunity. Licensees concerned about financial burdens can choose to build their business organically with low cost strategies. However, investments in marketing and sales can certainly accelerate the process.
On average, how long does it take to start a new Happenings Media from the owner's point of view?
What was your background and experience before founding Happenings Media?
- Techie. Dancer. Entrepreneur. Angela's unique mix of creativity, technological know-how, and business intuition lead her to become one of the co-founders of Happenings Media. A proud alumna of Fordham University's Gabelli School of Business and Graduate School of Business, Angela started her career in IT consulting and later, added to her business foundation with a role in Accounting & Finance at a Fortune 100 company. However, she found it hard to ignore the entrepreneurial seed that had been planted having founded Expressions Dance Alliance at Fordham University. Angela's entrepreneurial journey led her to found Lime Events in 2008, BucksHappening.com in 2009, and ultimately Happenings Media in 2011.
- In an environment in which people are both more accessible and harder to reach than ever, Tina finds herself up for the challenge. After receiving a MBA in Marketing from Fordham's Graduate School of Business, Tina left the fast-paced world of a New York City hedge fund to follow her entrepreneurial ambitions. A passion for the everyday led to her involvement in building the flagship digital magazine, BucksHappening.com, and ultimately co-conceiving Happenings Media, the country's fastest growing licensee network of digital, hyperlocal lifestyle magazines.
- Rick Blair, former CEO of Examiner.com, has joined Happenings Media, a network of hyperlocal digital lifestyle magazines, as an official advisor. In this position, Blair will offer guidance and assistance in the continued development of the unique hyperlocal licensee network.
- Prior to taking on his new role as an adviser to Happenings Media, Rick served as CEO of Examiner.com as well as CEO of Clarity Digital Group, which oversees both Examiner.com and NowPublic, the largest participatory news network in the world. His experience also includes working as a consultant for The Anschutz Corporation, where he specialized in the aggregation of digital content and advertising, as well as acting as Vice President for America Online's former local initiative, Digital City.
Do you have any testimonials or success stories that you would like to share?
I first emailed you guys (girls) on Dec 14, and now we are already live with a site! I'm blown away! This site looks great and the feedback is overwhelmingly great, everyone is so impressed with the presentation and keeps saying how great it looks. You really did a great job!
And I'm seeing first hand the social media aspect, it's amazing! And I'm just hitting the tip of the iceberg, I can't wait until I get a better handle on things and can fully use them to my advantage.
I just wanted to say thank you again, I'm thoroughly impressed with everything!
Angela Giovine and Tina Paparone are two of the hardest working people I've been around. Take it from another Happenings Owner, this is a great opportunity for the right person/people. Join the Happenings family!
- Ryan, MontcoHappening.com
Tina, I have to commend you and Angela for the organization and level of quality you have put into this. The online training is amazing and I have been going over it thoroughly myselfÃ¢Â�Â¦I want everything to meet your level of standards and then some.
- Kristin, PalmBeachHappening.com
I am so fortunate to be able to work closely with Tina as a partner at Happenings Media. Tina has been an extraordinary leader who has taught me so much, over a very short period of time, about marketing and the ever growing and changing world of social media. Tina is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about what she does and offers no hesitation in sharing that knowledge with others. I know Happenings Media will continue to be an enormous success due in part to Tina's clear vision, understanding of media trends and her tenacious spirit! I would highly recommend Tina and in fact would encourage anyone who has the opportunity, to work along side her.
- Sarah, Editor, CapeCodHappening.com