held its first conference dedicated to showcasing and discussing magazine efforts in the “digital age” last Thursday. The sold out, one-day seminar, called Magazines 24/7
, featured sessions ranging from search opportunities and wireless initiatives to transferring and otherwise enhancing the magazine experience online. The day’s keynote emphasized the magazine’s position in the digital marketplace as perfectly suited to reap the digital rewards – as long as the traditional print model is abandoned online.
President and CEO Nina Link took the opportunity in her opening remarks to announce a new, dedicated digital section on MPA’s Web site called, what else?, Digital
. The section features digital resources and content to assist magazine publishers in their own digital efforts.
The day’s keynoter, John Battelle, founder and chairman of blog conglomerate Federated Media Publishing
and, previously, The Industry Standard and Wired, said that the purpose of his presentation was to “terrify you and assuage you. So I should have come bearing a big Google logo.”
Battelle went on to describe the emergence of Web 2.0 over the last few years as the new platform for conducting legitimate business online. “Almost every idea from 1995 to 1998 has been rehashed and is working – even the pet stuff,” he said.
Web 2.0 is about content and services, he said, adding that a “remix culture” has emerged, meaning that the best sites are mixes of other site’s data feeds. He added that merely adopting a print model online will not succeed. “You can’t just make a thing and push people to your thing. You can’t force behavior online. People find content independent of the site – through search.”
Search, according to Battelle, rules, and magazines are particularly positioned to take advantage of what he called the rise of the “point to” economy. The more a magazine’s content is found through search the better. Authoritative content, deep archives, talented authors, community features and good advertiser relations make magazines perfect for a search-driven world, Battelle said.
Subsequent panelists essentially echoed Battelle’s points by showcasing how they’re not simply replicating a print experience and urged other publishers to do the same.