Magazines, Meet Your Doom

Wizard Magazine goes public and digital, ends print edition – UPDATED

At one time, Wizard sold more copies than any comic it covered but in recent years, despite several attempts to get a website going (including one over a decade ago) it just could not compete with the moment by moment breaking news of the internet.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

I can’t speak to Wizard. I might have seen an issue once, but my memory might be wrong or at any rate too dim to matter. So they might not have had any alternative other than this. But even now, having been ravaged by the Net, does the brand name have anything left to compete as a Net-only publication? Or is the brand name so bereft of its past cachet and heritage that it’s now just a brand name that is essentially meaningless?

This the future all periodicals are facing now. Back in the print-only days, when TV Guide was sold by Annenberg to Rupert Murdoch, it quickly changed into something that was no longer TV Guide. I wound up buying it out of habit then just dropping it altogether due to the free on-screen cable TV guide I had. TV Guide no longer had the contents that made it required buying. That was a judgment call by the tasteless Murdoch, who had no competition for the non-listings content — which made TV Guide worth buying — to worry about.

That’s part of the dilemma facing periodicals. To transition to digital, they will have to find out how to exploit their weakness. But doing that will be a jarring break from their heritage and they’ll lose many existing readers, because they will do a morph similar to that of TV Guide — only this time as a reaction to actual competition, not due to a tasteless new owner. It remains to be seen if they can woo new readers to make up for that loss.

TV Guide still hasn’t gotten me back. And probably never will.

2 Comments

Filed under Digital Overthrow, Digital Periodicals

2 responses to “Magazines, Meet Your Doom

  1. phred

    Wizard’s been a shadow of itself for a long time. When I track magazines that go “all digital” it usually seems more because their owners have screwed the pooch and it’s their last step before filing chapter 11. Maybe this time will be different, but I doubt it.

    At some point, magazines will have digital versions that make sense, at least at the corporate level they’ll make sense. Eventually, print will be mostly gone. It doesn’t have to be that way, but that’s probably what will happen. What I think we’ll see is that the technology will outrun the readers and we’ll get reading experiences chock full of doo dads and add ons that we never asked for, don’t want, will have to pay for to get what the parts want.

    I’m not a Luddite. I love technology. But oftentimes, it’s a massive pain in the ass that gets in the way of everyday living and having spent some of my life in the analog word, I can’t help think that a lot of this shit is not necessarily what we wanted in the first place.

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