Magazines Get A Second Life

There is a mood of upbeat optimism at magazines, now that they have entered their second life.  And we’re pretty sure that has happened, as the chief exec of Future Publishing, in the UK, said that digital publishing would ensure that paper mags will become “collectible artifacts rather than sources of valuable information… content that we want to own rather than connect with”.  Speaking before the PPA conference in London, Stevie Springs added that magazines would have to accept changes like enver before, and fast.  “Darwinism continues,” she said, “But it’s Darwinism on speed.   It’s survival of the fastest…we have to adapt and accept that some things are done much better in digital that in print.” She also feels that the next three years will be better than the last 3 have been, largely as the magazine figures out its new habitat. 

Folio mentions that digital vendors are at the moment either creating their own online marketplaces or creating “magazine branded storefronts and/or apps”. It makes sense for them to take themselves out of the picture in favor of the magazine brands, since that is where the public will be going. Most feel that tablets like the iPad are the basis for the second coming of the magazine business. Says the founder of Technologizer, “They already have well-established publisher relationships …, and far more people are going to want to read magazine-format publications on tablet-style devices than ever wanted to on PCs.”  Publishers are already creating apps for the iPad as well as downloadable content for the Kindle, the Nook, and mobile phones.

Condé Nast was a late web holdout, and the New Yorker has a brand spanking new web editor, who spoke with Sparksheet about the challenges for maintaining the execellence of that magazine’s editorial integrity.  Blake Eskin says that Condé stills maintains that the purpose of the web sites is to generate print subscriptions. While they have met the digital age with podcasts, author interviews (that are posted on Facebook) and blogs, they do not post the entire magazine online, but they do have some content that is web-only.  Eskin says, “…we keep an eye on what kinds of stories tend to do well…. We try to bring that sense of polished editing and excellence to things we can do simply but well.”

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