Posted tagged ‘magazines’

Tracking Consumers : Not Just For the FBI

March 15, 2009

person-question_1According to an article on BusinessWeek.com, a new company named Sense Networks is working to track consumer movements through their cell phones. It then groups consumers by ‘tribes’ based upon the places they visit and upon common behaviors.

In the article, the focus is on how this data could be used to create much more targeted advertising campaigns, but upon reading it, I began thinking about how it could be used by magazines, newspapers and books.

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Mag Distributors : Way to go?

February 19, 2009

Most publishing people are probably aware, by this point, of the grand circus that is magazine distributing these days. Since Anderson News Co. and Source Interlink attempted to charge publishers an additional 7 cent surcharge per copy, there has been a lot of speculation, with Time Inc. going so far as to begin to set up a new network of wholesalers to handle distribution of it’s magazines.

Source then sued Time Inc. and other publishing and distribution companies, alleging the companies are trying to drive it out of business. Now according to Media Week, it appears that Source has signed a new multi-year agreement with Time Inc. that does not include the per copy surcharge. The article does not say if the contract includes some other charge or a charge that is not per-copy based.

The trouble here is with the current business plan for these distributors. They are in a seriously comprimised position – they need to be able to provide their customers with content, and need to receive that content from publishers. Without some serious negotiations, one way or another, these companies are in trouble.

Basically… people are lazy

January 28, 2009

Basically, people are lazy. Publishers forget this. Even I did. They want “content” – no matter what the format – delivered to where ever they are already reading things. They don’t want to have to go looking for something to read – they’d rather it be delivered to their doorstep, to their inbox or to their blackberry/iphone etc.

However, as a recent post on MediaPost Magazines mentions,

“I realized that what I like about Time, or any print vehicle for that matter – be it magazine or newspaper or broadsheet or pamphlet – is that I am exposed to tidbits of information and long-form thought pieces that I don’t necessarily want to fetch.”

It is this quality that magazines, newspapers and print producers of every kind need to remember. If they choose their market, they can provide things that that market didn’t know it wanted to read – but that they will find interesting, nonetheless. While, essentially, this is what “cookies” (web sites use cookies to track what you look at to provide you ads you are most likely to be receptive to) do for advertising, nothing currently exists that can bring together different written content and deliver it in an interesting package and deliver it to the consumer – without them having to do a lick of work.

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The Newspaper Industry is Walking Backwards

October 23, 2008

There are two types of magazine publishing: Trade and consumer. The financial set-ups for these two are drastically different. There are also two types of newspapers: Free Dailies, and regular papers. Again, the financial blue prints are supposed to be very different.

Essentially, however, Trade magazines and free dallies follow a similar blue print. Consumer magazines and regular newspapers also see similarities.

Traditionally, consumer magazines/newspapers create content that is appealing to consumers, then, because consumers use/read/view their product (to the point they will pay for it) companies trying to market to that market segment advertise in the magazine or newspaper, with the hope that consumers of the magazine will then also buy their products. Some customers even enjoy looking through the ads. This has worked fairly well for a long time now (though, some companies are turning off of print ads because it’s hard to measure the direct response).

In contrast, trade magazines and free dailies are … free. They don’t cost their readers anything. Instead, they are paid for by the companies that advertise in them. Sometimes (at least according to my experiences in trade publishing) this means that editorial revolves around advertisers, and caters to them (rather then readers). This method seems to make less sense – by catering to advertisers you essentially make their ads less successful. At least in trade publications, they can get away with this because you’re dealing with business information, so the readers are partially reading the publication for the same information that manufacturers/advertisers want them to have.

But recent trends in the consumer magazine world make no sense. Ditto on newspapers, though for different reasons. (more…)

Mixed Blessings 4 Magazines

October 17, 2008

According to Mr. Magazine,

“The number of new magazine launches for the third quarter of 2008 exceeded that of the similar period of 2007 by 29 magazines. For the first time this year, the new magazine launches reversed the huge downturn trend that started with the third quarter of 2007 and continued throughout the first half of 2008.”

While this means that obviously those starting new magazines don’t believe the industry is doing as poorly as those in it do, it also means more competition for decreasing ad dollars. But, while most magazines that have passed their first birthday are worried, according to Media Life MagazinesEurope’s business elite has increased its readership.”

You may think this just means that the business elite are an older generation – but according to the survey that reveled these findings, those same people have “ramped up their consumption of news online,” but

“…they have not cut back on their consumption of traditional sources of news. Key among the reasons, believe the researchers, the print titles are portable, which fits well into an on-the-go lifestyle. But another key factor is trust. Those readers trust what they read in those publications over what they read online.”

This seems to be extremely positive. It means that there is a differentiation here between print publications and online media that is possibly, hopefully, a sign of a new trend that will filter down. It’s consumers consuming print (vs electronic media) BECAUSE it is print. Rather then reading the news on their blackberries or other small electronic devices they are reading it in print because of what print offers that online media does not: gatekeepers.

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E-Magazines : An interesting Model

October 13, 2008

Many magazines (and publishing companies) are fighting the move to the web with all they have in them, rather then viewing it as a new tool to use. But not all.

One of the classes I’m taking at Pace University this semester is a marketing class and we are talking about how, since the internet, consumers are expecting more and more personalized products and services. As Kassia Krozser recently posted on Booksquare, “The pain will come for those (textbook industry, anyone?) clinging to old business models.”

What this means is that publishing companies need to look for ways to embrace technology. This, of course, will be different for each of the different ‘types’ of publishing (magazines, books, etc.), but embrace it they must.

Magazines

Take what Mitch Fox is doing at 8020 Media. Essentially, they are creating magazines out of user generated content.

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Mygazines.com, Audible Parenting and the dumbest generation ever

September 18, 2008

Most people in publishing have acknowledged that publishing is in a transition phase right now. With the digital bubble, everyone tried to grab a piece of the pie – but it didn’t always taste very good. Digital content brings with it it’s own problems. For magazines that includes how to make profit on something you’re giving away and how digital advertising will in turn affect print advertising.

Despite the fact that many readers are getting more of their information online these days, many magazines still don’t have a successful website, with an easily navigated digital version of the magazine. (Or easily navigated pages) In comes Mygazines.com. It has done what many mags failed to do – it has designed a simple, easy to use reader that allows members to browse pdfs of many popular magazines. The magazines are uploaded by users, and there is a surprising variety available. While the site will likely fall into trouble soon, since it defies copyright laws, it still shows what is possible and inspires the question: Is the lack of good content or design simply that print people can’t think digital?

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