Monday, May 5, 2008

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Printing as a Premium Format

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Printing as a Premium Format

Re: It's Web 3.0, and Someone Else's Content Is King
Um, Bo, pardon me if I am getting this wrong, but it sounds very much like a dog chasing its own tail. Who is actually going to be writing the stories everyone is aggregating?

In my market, there's dozens of "free" sites, rife with bad grammar, egregious spelling, and obvious errors of fact. Not to mention copy that would never, EVER grace my titles. Yes, I've seen some ads migrate over there, but, just like paid search, I expect to see them back again as the channels clog with trolls, moles, and wannabe writers that don't know their head from an ampersand. Call me arrogant, or simply follow the money: free content almost always sucks. How many "cute kitty" pictures can we actually stomach?
How long before the masses move on to the next circus?

Me, I'm looking forward to being able to deliver my content electronically via an open-source reader that doesn't greedily demand 85% of the retail price. (Amazon Kindle, anyone?) Until then, I'll stay paid, small-but-profitable, and happy.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Magazines Face Curbs to Photo Airbrushing
Hey Bo, Maybe it's a little late for a comment on this but- Retouching has been going on for as long as I have been in the business (over 30 years) before it was done in the sink or the darkroom (dot etching for the kids at home), then Cromacom CEPS systems & now we use photoshop. All of the models were (and still are) retouched to smooth wrinkles, blemishes, whiten eyes & teeth, re-style hair, enhance eye color, reduce unsightly bulges, facial hair yada, yada yada. This also goes for interiors (and exteriors) of houses in the " home " mags. Curtains are fixed, outlets removed, walls squared up, houses under construction finished etc.
If the general public thinks that these models actually look anything like their printed counterparts, I've got some swamp land in Florida that they may be interested in . . .
PS Keep up the good work
(Submitted by a printer)

RE: The State of Digital Magazine Delivery, 2008
I'm amazed that so many digital magazine companies are still competing in this market space. With the exception of some double digit paid circ at US News & World Report, Playboy and Seventeen the impact of digital magazine facsimiles on consumers is near zero. While suppliers claim 2,700 digital titles I have yet to have a conversation with a person outside of magazine publishing who has ever subscribed to or even looked at a digital edition. If 2,700 trees fall in the forest and no one hears them fall do they make a sound? I can't speak to B2B success with digital versions (and I know there has been some) but after many tests with digital facsimiles my company primarily sees their value as a tactical tool for sampling or displaying archived content. That isn't to say that the idea of digital magazines is bad one. There are some highly interactive digital magazines designed for the screen that are attracting consumers and advertisers. These editions have merit but so does the web. Perhaps the digital magazine of the future is, in fact, a website.
(Submitted by a Senior Magazine Manager)

RE: The State of Digital Magazine Delivery, 2008
Bo, I see this as a great work in progress. The subscribers to my digital editions are small by percentages but growing everyday. I think in just a few short years, the tide will turn and the bulk of my business will be web/digital editions. The market forces are driving my company that way, and I see no other alternative. Do I expect paper and postage to suddenly go back to the 1990s. No! What I do expect is constant manufacturing and distribution increases. For those of my readership that still want paper and are willing to pay for it, I'm sure I will still have those editions. But for the other readership, there is another more frugal course of action.
(Submitted by a publisher)

Re: Want to read those magazines? Read the fine print first
We have a simple rule: we don't use agencies, agents, or allow our magazines to be used as promotional kickers. In fact, we don't even do "buy 1 get 1" holiday gifts anymore, the people who responded to the cheapie offers turned out to be more trouble than they were worth. The sort of garbage discussed in the article debases the entire industry.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Finally something for you magazine people out there to think about.
Posted BY Michael Turro
From the BLOG

While I hate to sound like chicken little - and though the print is dead meme is way overplayed - I had to post this quote from Steve Frye. In a sidebar in the current issue of Publishing Executive titled The State of the Printing Industry Frye drops this bomb:

I think we need to change our philosophy of what a magazine is. We are no longer a cheap means of dispensing information, and that's what we were until the Internet came along. Now we are an inefficient and expensive means of distributing information. . . . We need to reinvent ourselves as a luxury item that people want and are willing to pay for. And until we change our own image of who we are, we're going to find out that our vendors are gong to change it for us. Because, right now, postage is a premium. Paper is a premium. Soon printing will be a premium. How long can we buy at a premium and sell at a discount? We can't.

Damn straight. I've been singing this song for a while now and it's refreshing to finally see these kinds of blunt words in the pages of an old school cheerleader like Publishing Executive (I couldn't find them on the PubExec site that's why there is no link for the quote - had to transcribe it myself).

Hopefully this marks a turning point in the direction of not only Publishing Executive's reporting, but in the reporting of all the media that cover the magazine and printing industry. Hopefully they'll awaken from the coma that has produced little more than a sleepy rhetoric of change management and stir the pot a bit. They need to give publishers a sense of urgency. They need to stop rewriting and regurgitating vendor press releases and start doing some hard, studied thinking.

Ultimately - when you get right down to it - the road ahead is uncharted and there isn't a vendor alive today that has anything close to a solution for the kinds of questions we face. To answer those questions we need journalists, not marketing contacts.

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