Rizzoli, or RCS Media Group was founded in Milan in 1927 by Angela Rizzoli and is one of Europe’s largest media companies, operating magazines, newspapers, websites, as well as TV and radio stations.
In China the group publishes Case da Abitare (居Case da Abitare) and a sister magazine, Abitare China (住Abitare China). Both magazines are about design, interior decoration and architecture.
Aside from the two magazines, RCS Media Group are also looking to venture into multimedia next year: Rizzoli Beijing (卓意传媒) and
Case da Abitare was launched in August 2007, intended to be something like the equivalent of Wallpaper magazine and the founder of Wallpaper, Tylor Brule, has been appointed as Case da Abitare‘s creative director.
Duan Yanling, editor-in-chief of the magazine,recently answered some questions from Danwei about Rizzoli’s expansion plans for China.
What are Rizzoli’s plans in China and what distinguished the magazines and website from the many competitors in this area?
Atcasa.cn is for the masses, but in particular design enthusiasts and consumers.
Case da Abitare is a lifestyle guide for elite design professionals and consumers, while Abitare China is in-depth reading for senior professionals in the architectural design field.
Within this frame, we want to promote modern design culture in China. Advertisers do not have much power in interfering with the integrity of the content.
Are you worried about the financial crisis and its impact on advertisers, especially in the home furnishings and design sector?
I am cautiously optimistic. Rizzoli Beijing is not a publishing house in a traditional sense. We look to build a boutique-style media platform, where emphasis is on quality, high-standard content. High-end magazines like Case de Abitare and Abitare China are meant to be reference books for design industry professionals.
What are your plans for new media? Is Atcasa.cn your only foray into the field?
No, we are also building mini websites such as Apartner.cn (not yet live) for our readers and Atcasa members — registered users will be able to make their own ‘to-buy list’ for internet shopping. They will also be able to build online groups and interact with others.
What really excites us is that we managed to team up with China’s biggest web portal, Sina.com. We want to reach the maximum number of netizens, but because we focus on design-related lifestyle content, we want to distinguish ourselves from the clutter. We hope that traffic will ultimately be driven by the right target audience.
The Italian version of Atcasa.cn has an extensive and exclusive photo and video database, and likewise in China we hope to start our own video production.
Any other comments about the magazine industry in China at the end of 2008?
The new generation of Chinese consumers and readers are far more sophisticated than they’re given credit for.
Print media doesn’t really have status and credibility in China, the kind that is given to print media in the rest of the world. Who is to blame? This is something every professional in the print field needs to think about.
Print media which has an independent viewpoint and cultural outlook will become a trendsetter or cultural thermometer. This means those who are more selective, looking for things that are more refined, specialized and individualistic. That’s Casa de Abitare and Abitare China‘s direction.