Bustle’s Charlotte Owen is on a mission to turn around Elite Daily
BDG has been on a mission to revamp the brands in its lifestyle division for the past few years, by increasing the exclusivity in its events business, acquiring new luxury-focused fashion brands and adding shoppable elements to its content.
But editorially, BDG’s namesake brands Bustle and Bustle UK have been undergoing a content transformation too, led by editor-in-chief Charlotte Owen. Taking a page from the tried-and-true playbook of magazines in the industry, Owen’s team has started going after a higher caliber set of celebrity interviews in the form of monthly digital covers, only her strategy for interviewing goes against the standard formula she sees practiced by other publications.
Owen, who helped launch Bustle UK in May 2018, was promoted to lead both the U.S. and U.K. editions of the site in January 2020, and two years later in April 2022, was tapped as the editor-in-chief of BDG’s Gen Z-focused media brand Elite Daily as well.
Elite Daily, which was acquired by BDG in April 2017, after its former parent company Daily Mail General Trust deemed it all but worthless at the end of 2016, has been on a steep uphill climb to regain the authority it once had over 18-24-year-olds. The site had achieved profitability one year after its launch in 2012, leading it to be bought for over $40 million in January 2015 by DMGT, but like many digital publications of the time, fell victim to Facebook’s algorithm changes shortly thereafter.
On the latest episode of the Digiday Podcast, Owen discusses how she is applying the leadership lessons and editorial strategy that’s worked at Bustle to Elite Daily in hopes of restoring the brand’s authority within the college-aged demographic once again.