Jan 17, 2013
Many magazine publishers continue to face challenges in diversifying their revenue mix beyond print advertising, leveraging social media to engage with new audiences, and distributing & monetizing their publications across a growing array of mobile platforms. Last week’s MediaNext Show in New York City–a magazine media industry conference put on by FOLIO Magazine–tried to address these issues by tapping a substantial number of seasoned digital media experts for keynotes and sessions aimed to spark to help provide perspective on how magazine publishers can effectively compete in a marketplace that is increasingly digital and continuously evolving.
The event’s first keynote speaker–James Bankoff, Chairman and CEO of Vox Media, which is a pure-play digital media company that operates the SB Nation, The Verge, and Polygon properties–gave an insightful talk about building a modern media company. He outlined a number of key elements that drive the success of Vox’s properties, such as focusing on great design, being able to scale rapidly, hiring great talent to deliver high-quality content, and relying heavily on technology support real-time responsiveness and innovation–for editorial and advertising. According to Mr. Bankoff, Vox Media’s revenue is 95% ad-based, and he believes that its approach to adopting native advertising delivers greater value (and results) to advertisers compared to programmatic buying that publishers have less control over. Read more »
Oct 24, 2012
Last week’s announcement that the print edition of Newsweek magazine would cease at the end of 2012 shined a spotlight on the digital disruption that has accelerated business transformation for traditional publishers. It’s not like magazine publishers have their head in the sand; for over a decade, they have been forging ahead in a digital direction, trying a variety of strategies and tactics to grow their digital audience, increase online ad revenue, and monetize their content. Nevertheless, the sheer velocity of transformation in the last few years has forced magazine publishers of all sizes (and media companies in general) to be much more agile and innovative.
Magazines clearly remain an attractive outlet for advertisers, especially as digital channels attract new audiences and provide engaging andÂ measurableÂ advertising experiences. To that point, the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) recently released research conducted by Kantar Media highlighting that the number of brands advertising in magazine media–including print, web, and tablet channels–grew from just over 9,500 in the first half of 2010 to almost 15,000 in the first half of 2012. Advertisers value magazine media, especially as it extends to more interactive, data-rich channels. Read more »
Oct 18, 2012
Newsweek, the venerableÂ 79-year-old weekly magazine announced it will discontinue its print edition to become digital-only by the end of the year. The publication has been struggling for years with circulation dropping from over 4 million in 2003 to around 1.5 million in 2012. By my estimate the decision will eliminate approximately 5 billion 8.5×11 equivalent pages from the printing industry and 79 million pieces of mail per year.
Tina Brown, Newsweek’s editor-in-chief, broke the news on The Daily Beast which is also controlled byÂ IAC/InterActiveCorp.Â Ms. Brown, in explaining why the publication is going digital-only stated,Â “This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism–that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”
Ahhh, how quickly people change their views. Less than two years ago when IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller was finalizing negotiations Read more »
May 17, 2012
Magazine publishers have been experimenting with digital editions for quite some time, typically through the use of PDF replicas of the print edition including varying degrees of interactive enhancement. Before the launch of the iPad and subsequent tablets, reading digital editions was largely relegated to the laptop. For road warriors always on-the-go who wanted to keep with their magazine subscriptions, this model worked well. For most other consumers, the experience wasn’t ideal, and digital edition adoption was limited to a niche audience. Post-iPad launch, however, tablet adoption soared, and publishers started experimenting with delivering their magazines in a format optimized for the native capabilities of tablets, including touch interfaces, powerful processors, and web connectivity.
Time Magazine,Â Wired, and many others came out with interactive digital publications on the iPad during or closely after its launch. These interactive apps featured print content tailored to fit within the screen resolution of the iPad and other tablets, as well as optimized navigation for touch gestures and the inclusion of rich media and animated components in editorial and advertising content. Even though these types of interactive apps have only been in existence since spring 2010, these features are the gold standard for tablet digital editions, and hundreds of publishers have taken the plunge to make their magazines more interactive. Adobe provides key enabling technology for publishers to generate digital editions with its Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). Read more »
Mar 22, 2012
As society becomes untethered from print-based information and advertising models, publishers continue through a wrenching transformation. The excitement and angst of the industry was felt throughout the Publishing Business Conference and Expo at the New York City Marriott Marquis earlier this week.
The event included an “A-list” of speakers, over 70 innovative technology vendor and service provider exhibitors, and hundreds of attendees from across the magazine, book and media industry. The conference program included over 50 sessions and 120 speakers that provided a valuable combination of strategic insights and practical in-depth advice. Here are a few of the many insights and comments I came away with from the event.
Should We Love You or Fear You?
Josh Tyrangiel, Editor Bloomberg Businessweek, gave an outstanding opening keynote pointing out that the human attention span is a zero sum game. You get one look from your customers. His advice? Make something great and then broadcast it. Read more »
Mar 8, 2012
Now that the speculation frenzy has been relieved with Apple’s introduction of the new iPad yesterday, I’ll give my perspective on what it means for the market. The short answer is that if you are a publisher, content producer, advertiser, marketing services provider or Google, it’s all good. If you are a printing company or equipment supplier with no presence in digital media, it’s all bad.
Aug 3, 2011
Last week I traveled to Rapid City, South Dakota to visit Fenske Media, a data-driven solutions provider that installed a Kodak Prosper 5000XL last December. Fenske Media is using the Prosper 5000XL for a range of full color mail applications on glossy paper. Glossy paper is the key to expanding high-speed inkjet printing into new applications at offset quality levels. As Dave Fenske, Partner at Fenske Media, concisely puts it “Printing is entertainment, and entertainment equals shine.”
Fenske Media, Rapid City, South Dakota
Read more »
Apr 5, 2011
I attended the first day of the Publishing Business Conference and Expo held at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. This long running event (years ago known as Book Tech Expo), included a wide range of speakers covering the magazine and book publishing industry, around 40 exhibitors, and some 2,500 attendees according to the event organizer North American Publishing Company (NAPCO).
While many publishers are still trying to get their legs under them after the brutal recession and on-going demise of traditional business models, I found the presentations this year were quite upbeat with common themes including marketing as a service, mobility, iPads, social media, and cross media. Read more »
Feb 11, 2011
In the late 1970’s I read an article by a well-known strategic-planning guru (whose name I have now forgotten) that, among other good points, contained the observation that changes driven by technology often take longer than expected — sometimes MUCH longer — to develop, but once they start, they tend to accelerate rapidly. Another observation in the same article was that “technology giveth, and technology taketh away”. Both statements are apt right now for the paper industries in the advanced economies. After more than thirty years of availability of computing power at all levels (I attended the first “paperless office” demonstration in 1977), and 20 years of widespread Internet availability, it is only in the past decade, and more especially in the past five years, that all this technology has started really biting into demand for printing and writing papers. The fruition of these technology trends has made the current recession one in which, for the advanced-economy paper industries, the end of the recession will only staunch the bleeding, not heal the wounds. Read more »
Aug 9, 2010
Who is buying high-speed continuous-feed process color printers? Early evidence indicates that it’s transaction printers. About 200 print engines in this class were placed around the world in 2009 but it hasn’t been entirely clear which environments have been most likely to buy them. It was my assumption that the quality and running cost capabilities of these devices made them attractive to transaction, direct mail, and some publication environments but I wondered whether that was really the case. I decided to look at the public announcements of companies that have placed such products to see what this said about market preferences. Read more »