2 min read

Refinery29’s Stone Roberts: “The Future of Programming is Good Content”

In our second edition of our interview show, where we get a behind the scenes look at some of the biggest innovators in digital video…

In our second edition of our interview show, where we get a behind the scenes look at some of the biggest innovators in digital video, Co-Founder Alex Ragir sits down at Refinery29’s new offices in West Los Angeles with Stone Roberts, VP of Global Video Strategy, who recently moved the video team from New York to LA. Refinery29 just made a big expansion into video — from television shows, to Snapchat, to Facebook Watch — and has become a leading digital publisher for millennial women.

Here are four major takeaways from our conversation with Roberts:

Measuring content success is both “gut and science”
“Our three northstars are reach, relevance, and revenue. Revenue is numerical, and reach in many capacities is numerical. To us the northstar when it comes to reach is time spent, because all the analytics from all the different platforms are varied — so time is a constant that no one can mess with. Relevance is about mission driven work, and us working to inspire and build a more creative future.”

Refinery29 embraces diversity — both on and off the camera

“I look to hire and build a team that has a very diverse range of interests, and focuses, and backgrounds. I spend most of my time working with them to help bring their concepts and stories to life. I look at the establishment of an operational architecture in a way that anyone with a voice, that has a story to tell, can enter our machine and find a way to bring that story to life — through sight, sound and motion.”

The future of programming is good content, on-demand

“The future of programming is really good content. Wherever you want it, however you want it, tailored to you, and who you are and what you represent. I think the ability to have that choice is what makes what we’re doing very exciting. We don’t cater to one person, we cater to habits and types of people and a wide variety of lifestyles that allows your experience with our brand to be yours.”

Experiential is big for the future of marketing

“Refinery has a very strong stakehold in experiential. Our event 29rooms just opened in San Francisco, in Chicago, New York in September, and Los Angeles in December. We have the phrase “I.R.L. to U.R.L.” — in terms of the digital and the physical, and the fusion of the two. We’re very much leaned into that as the future of content consumption. People are going to begin to get lonely (if they’re not already there) in these isolated worlds. So bringing them into universes that they can interact with and taking those stories back home with them in their pocket — that to us is the northstar and that’s where we’re focused.”

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By Jordan M. Rapaport, Storyhunter Writer