New Year, New Job: Ubisoft’s Stefano Petrullo on moving from journalism to PR

You might know him as a senior PR manager for publisher Ubisoft, but StefanoPetrullo led a long career before this, starting off as a journalist in Italy.

Here he tells MCV about his career, and his move from the games media into PR.

Asking someone what a job in PR entails usually leads to some amazing answers, but in essence it means putting media in the best possible condition to do their job, providing them with assets in time, setting up meeting and interviews with developers and generally acting as the face of the company on a day-by-day basis making both your employer and your journalist happy.

I started my career in Italy when I was 17 as an assistant editor for Zzap!64 (this was back at a time when the Internet did not really exist yet – certainly not in a form we would recognise today) and after a few years I had the honour of taking over the reins of Dennis Publishing’s PC Zone Italy. Around 1997 the role of PR manager started appearing in Italian game companies and distributors so I took a leap of faith from being the youngest magazine editor in Italy (22 years old) to become one of the first and youngest PR managers representing all major publishers in Italy. This lead to the opening of Pulsar Communication,the first Italian PR agency fully focused on video games PR. We were pioneers and I am really proud to see all my colleagues over there have been really successful despite my later decision to move on.

In 2006 I moved to UK, thanks to Koch Media, who basically ‘imported’ me and allowed me to start my career in the UK market. I have amazing memories of my time at Koch UK and the people I worked with over there. I remember the excitement of getting started and building a PR department, securing my first ever front cover in the UK with Stalker on PCGamer, and the big nights out with my colleagues in the exciting Basingstoke where the company is still based.

After a couple of years and some outstanding achievements at Koch I was lucky enough to get an interview at Ubisoft as a specialist PR manager and since 2008 I have worked on some amazing IPs like Far Cry 2, Assassin’s Creed, and Splinter Cell, and I am now senior PR manager.

PR is probably one of the most fascinating jobs in this industry since you have to combine your passion for games with the understanding of what media need. The games industry today is far more complicated than back in 1991 – more structured and with far more risks being taken by publishers – making it vital that the right message gets out to media at the right time.

While the two worlds of publishing and media are really different it is important to acknowledge that they are part of the same ecosystem and they need to exist in harmony with one another alongisde other digital channels such as YouTube and Twitch. Publishers and media are not enemies but business partners striving to work together to accomplish their own set of goals: it is important for both groups to understand this and it can be a little disheartening when people don’t always appreciate that. Relations should be professional and respectful of each other’s role in the industry, even more so now as the media and their audience continues to change and evolve.

2015 is going to be an exciting year: new consoles are solidifying their presence in the market and the games media is continuing to grow and offer new opportunities and innovative ways to reach the consumer. There is no denying that our media landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years, with several traditional outlets having disappeared and many newer media rising to prominence, and it is down to PR to constantly adapt and roll with these changes. There has never been a more exciting (and hectic) time to be part of this world!

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