iPad Mags Need A New Blueprint
His bottom line: Social, Realtime, Local.
Social: I can understand in relation to wanting to share things with others — outbound from the magazine. I don’t understand it in relation to having a stream of pointless tweets appearing — inbound to the magazine.
Realtime is not something I understand at all. Most people in the know would actually turn to Search Twitter and follow a hashtag, as I’ve done for the Mumbai terror attacks and the New Zealand Christchurch quake and as people are today doing with Egypt.
Local: This would be like combining USA Today with the NY Daily News. Not something I think is going to happen any time soon. And what do you do about “local” for someone who is living away from a major population center where it’s not cost effective to provide local?
Of more interest are the Comments, where people who want to buy the magazines are speaking out.
EXCLUSIVE: Former Wizard Employee Speaks
iF: What was Wizard’s online strategy, if you knew of it, while you were employed there?
FWE: It is really funny that you ask about the online strategy; as far as I knew, there was none. A few weeks ago, I heard some talk of having our magazine published on the iPad through Comixology. Having had some experience with digital publishing, I suggested to the editorial director and most senior member of the editorial staff that pages might need to be re-thought to fit the format. He seemed very confused as to what that even meant as far as workflow, etc.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
I can’t speak for the rest of the interview but that part, right there, is why magazines can’t jump to digital. They’re not even at the starting gate like print book publishers!
What you usually get is, “Well, why can’t we just do it as a PDF?”
At least print book publishing is past that point.
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.