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Are Digital Magazines Still ‘Fish with Feet’?


Josh Gordon By Josh Gordon
11/21/2007 -10:16 AM






In 2005, search guru John Battelle was credited with sound bite critique of digital magazines describing them as "fish with feet," merely a transitional product for the digitally challenged who need extra help migrating from paper to the Web.

If Battelle was right, digital magazines should be fading away and gone in a few years. Also, his concern about the long term could become an objection raised by clients blocking your next digital magazine media sale.

While digital magazines have detractors they are now enjoying huge growth:

Digital publisher NXTbook Media reported a 254 percent increase in sales and a 359 percent rise in traffic to its digital magazines over the year before. This August, digital magazine publisher Zinio announced the launch of 65 new digital releases.

Sorry Mr. Battelle, but growth is robust.

In addition, almost all current media could be viewed as "fish with feet." In fact, going through some kind of tech transition focusing on delivery is typical these days:

▪ In two years, the current analogue standard of television is mandated to shut down and be replaced with a digital system as per order of the US Federal Communications Commission.

▪ Five years from now radio may morph into a medium with as many time shifted listeners as live.

▪ Just now, there is a technology fight in cable TV where IPTV technology (like FiOS from Verizon) is being deployed to compete with the current generation of cable delivery.

▪ The current Internet you are reading this blog on will one day be replaced with Internet2 technology now in beta at Universities.

If digital magazines are evolutionary products they are in very good company.

Today, Digital Magazines are robust and growing. To those detractors that suggest that they are irrelevant because they may yet evolve, remind them in today's media world evolution is a sign of viability, not weakness.





Josh Gordon By Josh Gordon -- Josh Gordon is president of Smarter Media Sales.com where he works with publishers to maximize their online and print revenue through training, consulting, and representation.

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