The Magazine King and Print’s Future
But consider the many magazines—perhaps a large share of those 2,000 titles at Casa Magazines—that simply cannot afford full-featured Web editions. Each reaches a specific target audience in a way that keeps people reading a given title on a regular basis. While some of these magazines will no doubt go away altogether or follow Newsweek to being digital-only, most will likely take some time to make the migration. Whatever they do, people who like to read the targeted content of magazines will likely do so on both mediums; it does not have to be an either/or thing.
I got a call the other day from a guy who wanted some help with developing a new publication. He’s maybe 25 and had a well-thought-out and carefully articulated vision for a new magazine that would incorporate music, fashion and lifestyle—a frenetically competitive segment of the magazine biz that attracts advertisers and readers alike. And he seemed to have money available.
While I don’t fully understand his target audience at this point, his ideas were sound; and although he knew he’d need to have a web version, his initial research was indicating that he should do a print version first. We’re meeting so I can learn more and we’ll see where this goes, but that a 20-something sees a printed magazine as a showcase for his vision made for an interesting hour on the phone.
Speaking of the preferences of the so-called digital generation, I have two members of that demographic in my family. The one who travels a lot usually takes a book or two and grabs magazines before she jumps on a plane. On a Skype call with her the other day, I asked if an iPad or tablet was on her Christmas list and got back an emphatic “No!” She says she much prefers the look and feel of a physical book or magazine—that she wants to turn the pages. She Skypes, does her blog, watches TV and movies on her MacBook, and runs her daily life and part of her business on her iPhone. But she wants her books nicely bound, and all 250-300 pages of Cosmo and Vogue flexible and glossy.