After almost 17 years of being one of the premier entertainment magazines in the country, StarStudio was among those who took the drastic plunge of ceasing print operations in order to keep pace with the global trends in acquiring and disseminating information.
Well, it wasn’t really goodbye for them because after six months, their surprising comeback was announced via a promotional video posted on their social media pages, not as the glossy read we used to leaf through, but as StarStudio.ph, an online portal that will contain the same content we all admired in the magazine version – best home exclusives and the lifestyle, brightest moments, and biggest revelations of the hottest stars.
Thus, before its highly anticipated return last September 3, we chatted with the Editor-in-Chief Ian Reyno, who was then busy doing final touches, or perhaps revisions, on their very first issue with his young creative team.
Being the editor-in-chief
First and foremost, ABS-CBN.com Entertainment quizzed him on how does it feel to be the frontliner of the country’s top entertainment magazine.
“It’s very exciting and challenging at the same time. The challenge lies in finding ways to make or create more engaging content, that we believe will cater to a wider readership of people interested in showbiz. Kaya it’s quite exciting for us and it’s very challenging, pero at the same time, it’s quite an honor and a privilege to be able to deliver content to our Kapamilyas.”
On the transition
In the continuous changes in the global trends, StarStudio, which has been running for almost a score, was not spared from the print media’s gradual switch to digital. However, instead of feeling downcast, excitement filled their hearts after the good news was relayed to them.
“Our magazine had to close shop last January 2018. But we were excited to be told that the brand will now be turning into a digital brand, so mas global na ‘yong reach niya. Access is wider, and everything's much faster,” he said.
Being there for the longest time, it has been considered as a “legacy brand”. Although it has gone through a lot of changes and so many formats, Ian imparted that they still adhered on what the fans really want.
“If they [readers] want to learn more about the private lives of the artistas that they follow, they just go to Starstudio and check on the details. If they want to see a particular star’s home or collections or hobbies or travels, StarStudio was their go-to magazine. Now that it has become digital, mas marami tuloy options for our consumers and readers to consume celebrity information, in a much more convenient way,” he continued.
Groundwork and alterations
When asked regarding the preparations they did towards the extensive move, StarStudio’s EIC for almost seven years started off by exclaiming, “MALAKI!”
“Sa print kasi, parang linear ‘yong process namin. So we interview the stars, we go to their house, we create the content, we edit with our computers, and then we go to the printing press, lalabas ‘yong magazine. Dito sa digital kasi, everything happens at the same time. While we are doing interviews, we are collating photos kasi ‘pag digital syempre mas visual na siya, so dapat maraming nakikita ‘yong user. We edit videos which we’ve never done before. We create games, which are on video, that are engaging material both for followers of the brand, and the followers of the celebrities. We do a lot of research, siguro times three pa more than what we’ve done before,” he related.
Then he added, “There’s a lot of pressure in building content na very visual, and experiential, versus dati na magazine lang, na ‘pag nabasa mo na siya, that’s it. You pass it around or you leave it everywhere. Ito kasing website, you can go back to it anytime, you can read it anywhere, you can jump from one topic to another and still be engaged sa kuwento.”
Moreover, he also thinks that what makes it better than the printed version is the convenience it provides. Since it would be available online, readers can access its contents anytime and anywhere they want through a few clicks on their handsets or computers and internet data. Plus, we also don’t need to have a hundred pesos in order to purchase the latest issues because it’s now for free!
According to Ian, it is their team’s way of serving the Kapamilyas, who are looking for more exciting content about their idols without them necessarily having to pay.
On gaining the trust of celebrities
For the past years, StarStudio has been our insider to the private lives of our favorite celebrities, latest events, and the most-talked about issues in showbizlandia. Thus, we couldn’t help but ask on how the stars have confidence on divulging to them their never-before-known stories.
“It’s plain and simple. It being there for so many years (for 16 years, almost going 17) is enough proof that it has always been there, because StarStudio has carried with it a badge of integrity. And we deliver content as authentically as possible, and as lucidly as how celebrities shared them with us, without bias, and as clearly and concretely as possible. That’s our promise to our artistas,” he stated.
After all, it is their in-depth and genuine storytelling that captured the hearts of the readers and make them different among all the digital properties of ABS-CBN.
“We deal less with entertainment news, but more of stories: life stories of people, of the persona behind the artista. We deal with challenges in their lives, we deal with their struggles that are as normal as the struggles of ordinary Pinoys. This translates to a deeper and stronger connection with the star and the person behind the star, because they become more relatable,” he emphasized.
After getting engrossed to the stories they would feature, the fans’ admiration towards their idols is going to grow fonder while the readers are going to perceive the stars in a totally different perspective and learn to appreciate them eventually.
Besides, being able to earn the trust of their celebrity subjects on carrying out their tales and delivering those to their Kapamilya followers are total privileges on his part as the editor-in-chief. As how he described it, “It’s a service na I’m proud to share ay gusto kong gawin, because I’m very passionate about sharing these stories to inspire more people, and make them feel happier, and more empowered.”
Insights on the first issue
For the initial offering of StarStudio.ph, the fans of the phenomenal tandem Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber would really be delighted because they slated them as the first-ever celebrities to grace its cover.
“The first issue is very exciting kasi for the first time, umupo ang MayWard sa amin. Interesting siya, and we are so privileged to have them for our first issue kasi they shared with us chapters of their lives that they have never told the public before,” Ian disclosed.
He also told ABS-CBN.com Entertainment that the loveteam’s life story personally hit him straight to the heart after reading the article about them, which turned him to become their instant fan.
When asked on why they chose them, he said that it’s actually a no-brainer.
“Ramdam namin talaga na sa simula pa lang, that if it’s going to be a first issue, it has to be somebody that embodies the excitement of the same people who are following our brand,” he shared.
Then he continued, “Maymay and Edward are exactly like that; they were and are fans. They represented the same people who were reading our stories for 17 years. So inisip namin na sila ‘yong adequate and accurate representation of these people, these fans and followers. They went and still go through the same journeys together. At the same time, malaki ang kanilang fanbase, so what better gift to share with our Kapamilyas than to offer the biggest names pagdating sa teen tandems. So sila ‘yon.”
Message to the avid readers
Seventeen years is definitely not an easy feat, thus, it’s really amazing how StarStudio has conquered the challenges and improvements it needs to undergo over time. Even though their print operations got halted, Ian recounted that he didn’t bid farewell to their followers, but gave them a little clue as to what is going to happen next without actually telling that it’s going fully digital in the months to come.
“We promise to deliver the most accurate and most authentic stories of our Kapamilya stars and we will be round the clock in terms of delivering the most inspiring stories the same way we did with the print edition. We’re so excited to embark on this more exciting adventure with our Kapamilyas, this time on the digital space,” he stated, enthusiastically concluding the interview.
Have you already checked out the first-ever digital issue of Star Studio? If not, visit StarStudio.ph now!