Welcome to 2020! It’s a brand new year, a brand new decade and a brand new opportunity to gain some publishing know-how from the industry’s finest in the Publisher 1-On-1.
Today’s interviewee is Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher and Managing Director at IC Publications. One of the world’s leading sources of analysis and debate on African political and economic issues, IC Publications produces a variety of platforms and services including magazines, digital media and international events to deliver unparalleled coverage on the latest developments in the African region.
Exact Editions provides the digital editions of 6 titles; African Banker, African Business and New African, as well as their French-language counterparts.
1) What’s your role within IC Publications?
Group Publisher and Managing Director. The group today is a media and communications group, which means we have a number of business streams.
The publishing (print and online); events; communications agency; advisory and business intelligence. For the publishing, I oversee our English-language stable of magazines and all the day-to-day operations of the group.
2) What attracted you to the magazine publishing industry?
It’s a family business so it was always my intention to join the group.
Having worked in it for 16 years now, I can tell you that what is attractive: our ability to influence the direction of the debate around some of the most important issues taking place in Africa; making a meaningful contribution to Africa’s socio-economic development through the different activities of the group, and telling the African story through a unique prism that helps to bring about stories that would otherwise go unnoticed and aiding in changing perceptions of the continent.
3) If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pasta…you can spend a month in Italy eating pasta and not have the same pasta throughout that month.
4) If you weren’t working in publishing, what would you be doing?
Most probably in banking and finance. I’m very much a numbers man even though I work with wordsmiths!
5) Do you have an all-time favourite magazine issue?
Not necessarily. Our May 2013 New African issue guest edited by designer Ozwald Boateng and also reflecting on 50 years of the African Union was pretty special. But over the years we have published a number of special editions that are all exceptional in their different ways.
6) Which country have you enjoyed visiting most?
I travel some two weeks a month because of my work. In Africa I have a soft spot for Maputo in Mozambique and Lagos in Nigeria for very different reasons. You leave Nigeria buzzing with ideas and clasping opportunities.
For holiday, Brazil. There is a positive energy in that country that is unique.
7) What do you think will have changed in the publishing industry in 5 years?
We are all now coming to grips with the digital disruption brought about the industry, and mastering new business models.
It’s very much a reality and it has forced media groups to revisit what they do and how they do it.
However, with the rise of fake news and now what they call deepfake, credible sources of content will be more sought after.
I anticipate further consolidation and I expect niche titles to still perform strongly.
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Thanks so much for taking part, Omar! If you’d like to be the star of the show in a future post, you can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.