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Magazine Publishing // The decline of print doesn’t mean the end of magazines

Published date
17 Jan 2014
Author
jmatthews

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London College of Communication alumna Kelly Verdonk graduated from MA Publishing in 2013, and has since landed a role as a Marketing & Communications Researcher with Dutch start-up imgZine.

Kelly looks at the magazine publishing, and the effect digital publishing has had and will continue to have on the industry. She seeks the opinions of publishing expert Loraine Mallon, course leader of BA (Hons) Magazine Publishing at LCC.

Original article taken from imgZine –

‘Tablet publishing is upcoming, but its still is in its exploratory phase. We face worldwide challenges, and with that numerous questions arise. This week, we spoke with publishing expert Loraine Mallon to address some of these challenges.

Mallon has over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. She has previously worked for Vogue Magazine, The MacMillan Dictionary of Arts, Oyez, Longman, and Two-Can Children’s Publishing.  Here’s what she shared:

ImgZine is producing apps for both publishers and enterprises. Do you think there is still a clear-cut difference between these two or are brands publishers themselves?

Yes, I do believe that brands are becoming publishers: Burberry is an example of this. Content Marketing and social media marketing is growing.  Christopher Bailey, the CEO at Burberry, created the History of the Trench communication around the world.

This trended so much that 300,000 people engaged in the campaign through social media. Facebook grew by 1million and the campaign saved Burberry £6.8 million in advertising communication costs.

Everyone is a publisher these days. Companies need content to create a conversation with their customers but that conversation must be two way –  creating a mutual benefit for the publisher/brand and their stakeholders.

burberry-pre-fall-2012ityi-1

Do engaging mobile content experiences benefit magazine publishers and other content owners?

Most publishers of magazines believe that mobile technology is the future as we move to 4G and 5G. The speed and access to online platforms will become quicker and convergent and rich media will be easier to access. Today the printed magazine is struggling – big companies such as Hearst are becoming digital lead.

Physical magazines are competing with tablets and mobile phones – up to date magazine content will have to be delivered onto mobile apps so that the brands compete with all other content that can be accessed by Mobile Technology. To be effective, however, the publishers must build strong brand relationships and brand communities.

What do you see as the primary challenges and opportunities around tablet publishing?

Tablets are considered to be disruptive technology. They have changed the business models for magazine companies. Tablet use is growing and companies like Samsung want a large share of Apple’s market place. Content on the tablet needs to have a high level of interactivity, as the user has high expectations.

The news from the media is that readers are engaging with digital editions of magazines. Advertising, however, could be an issue, which leads to a revenue issue. The advertising has to be highly creative and relevant – giving value to the reader.

I feel if the publishers provide an exceptional experience, which excites and engages the reader, then digital publishing will be successful.  Investing in design specifically for tablet publishing will also be important.

What kind of data is most interesting for publishers and companies, particularly in the mobile space?

It is important to collect data on your reader. Study their lifestyle, their beliefs and expectations – to engage with them on-line, to understand why they use digital platforms, and how long they stay on them. To try and collect their brand portfolio, and who they are loyal to. What must you do to build relationships and collaborate in order to find some form of mutualism? And of course, what social media marketing they engage with?

What do you think is the factor that decides whether a digital magazine is going to be successful or not?

Revenue – it has to make money. If it cannot find revenue streams it will not be able to succeed.  In addition, it needs to be well designed, have rich media, and use social media. You must strive to create media that uses the full potential of tablet technology. It has to be far more exciting than a printed magazine  – it must entertain and provide a value proposition to its readers.

How do you see the future of publishing?

I feel the future of publishing will be digital. Magazine publishers must generate digital content that is different and exiting, and that challenges the full potential of the technology.  However, we must encourage readers to pay for it and advertisers to trust the platform so that they collaborate and pay to communicate their brands.  No revenue, no magazines.’

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