Four Magazine Tech Trends for 2010 and Beyond
Most successful print sources will be those that take a multichannel approach.
In 2009, magazine publishing experienced unprecedented economic conditions that rocked conventional thinking and accelerated change like never before. One of the problems with extraordinary times is deciding what’s real and what’s temporary, and how to do more with less. With all of the changes in the industry, four trends have emerged that Transcontinental believes have staying power for 2010 and beyond:
1. Multichannel: 24/7 Content Distribution. Readers will be accessing content in different channels and in different ways. It will be imperative to respond to the readers needs—where, when and in the format they prefer—or see yourself being pushed out of the market. Print will still play a flagship role for most magazine enterprises, but there will be a continued drive to expand existing channels including print magazines and newsletters, digital magazines and e-newsletters, mobile, Web sites, blogs, podcasts, virtual events, video and many others.
For example, Research Brief reported a recent study entitled “Going Mobile: How Publishers Are Preparing for the Burgeoning Digital Market,” which stated that 70 percent of publishers are paying more attention to the mobile market this year than last. More specifically, 42.4 percent of consumer magazines and 44.7 percent of business publishers are formatting websites for mobile viewing.
The trick is to determine how to reach your readers in all platforms efficiently while staying loyal to the brand and your core competencies. Don’t underestimate the challenge. Digital media requires significant investment in hardware, services and specialized, in-demand personnel.
But don’t think that you have to immediately make major conversions. While there definitely is movement, not all of your readers are making changes and many are far more comfortable with more familiar formats.
In its September 2009 article, “E-media Reality Check”, FOLIO: reported that 50 percent of respondents still generate less than 10 percent of their revenue through e-media.
2. E-Publishing: Technology Forward. Electronic publishing, or e-publishing, uses new technology to deliver books and other content to readers. Not an option a few years ago, this technology is changing the industry as print and electronic formats are defining their own roles. This new way of bringing the printed word to life has resulted in the creation of new software and hardware devices such as the Kindle. We are only beginning to see the ramifications of e-publishing; a very broad term that includes a variety of different publishing models, including electronic books (e-books), print-on-demand (POD), e-mail publishing, wireless publishing, electronic ink and Web publishing. What is certain is that there are more types of e-publishing that are sure to be developed in the near future.
3. Personalization: Taking It Higher and Higher. All media will become even more targeted and personalized. Relevance is everything to consumers, and both emerging print-based and electronic technologies will continue to enable ever-higher levels of personalization at affordable costs. Contributing significantly will be magazine publishers’ hefty investments in database development and data mining techniques. If you want to customize content, now is the time to know something more about your readers.
4. Content: Still King. Content is only growing in importance, and magazine publishers’ ability to generate targeted content will remain a huge asset in an information-hungry world. Magazine publishers can make themselves relevant and ‘sexy’ with the content they use. For example, magazines that use pull out coupons and other personalized pieces can look to keep their readers interested. Publishers literally have years of archived, still relevant content that can be easily digitized and adapted for a variety of online applications.
Overall, what will remain the same is that the most successful print sources will be those that not only continue to invest in advanced magazine print technologies, but also move beyond print to provide integrated, multi-faceted communication solutions. Being able to surround the print magazine with complementary cross-distribution services can look to enhance the magazine’s brand and present more advertising revenue opportunities.
Leveraging integrated solutions that include database marketing, digital solutions and a wide range of services to produce and personalize the magazine’s content with maximum efficiency and results will help publishers stay ahead of the curve and be the key to success in 2010 and beyond.