Sunday, January 01, 2006

Predicting the Future of Print Media

Rachel Sklar over at FishbowlNY was seriously torqued when her employer, Mediabistro, published a column on 12/26 of media predictions for 2006--featuring eleven male prognosticators. She was exercised enough that she went hunting for female columnists willing to make media predictions for FishbowlNY. Those predictions were published online on 12/30.

Among the distaff prognosticators was Rachel Pine, author of "Communications Director, Doubledown Media." One of Pine's predictions was this:

"Advertisers will once again realize the power of print -- not necessarily huge, mainstream publications, but they will begin to understand, embrace and champion affinity publications as never before."

I was reminded of that particular prediction when reading the 1/9/06 edition of BusinessWeek Online. There was a commentary entitled "Call It Gutenberg's Revenge" that contends "[u]pstart Internet publishers, helped by low costs that go with signing up their online members, are venturing into the print world they once viewed as an albatross of paper and distribution expenses."

Traditional print magazines rushed to establish their presence on the Web in order to compete with those upstart Internet publishers and "to keep up with the demand for round-the-clock news updates and online communities." Now the worm has turned. The Webzines are recognizing that there are advantages to providing niche markets with print magazines.

BusinessWeek argues that [a]ny online-only magazine is missing out on a lot of readers. According to researcher InsightExpress LLC, 68% of consumers don't read any magazines online. Of that group, 54% say they shun them because they're inconvenient, while 47% say they don't like banner ads and pop-ups."

Andrew Swinand, senior vice-president at Starcom MediaVest Group, says that people become more engaged when reading print magazines. The logical extension of that is that the reader is more likely to notice a print ad. Advertisers are very willing to spend dollars on print ads--especially those ads that target a specific segment of the market.

As I thought about what the article was saying, I realized that--while I am an avid reader of two online magazines: Salon and Slate--I also subscribe to several niche print magazines: one for writers, one for gardeners and one for sudoku enthusiasts.

The article ends: "Clearly, cyberpublishing is where the world is headed -- but it looks as if that magazine pile in the living room will be around for a while."

1 comment:

Yasmine Phoenix said...

Yeah! I like the printed word as well as online reading. I have several print subscriptions and online ones. PW I get both. Amazing, I guess the printed word will make to the 22nd century. Happy New Year Maya!