NYTimes: Wondering How Far Magazines Must Fall

A few weeks ago, NY Times columnist David Carr wrote a column that depressed everyone in the entire publishing industry – except for us.  In the article, “Wondering How Far Magazines Must Fall,” David highlighted the challenges of weekly news magazines like Newsweek and then broadened his observations by pointing out the sharp decline of newsstand sales  – 10% overall, some more, some less.  His conclusion:

The problem is more existential than that: magazines, all kinds of them, don’t work very well in the marketplace anymore.

Why?  Retail magazine buyers and advertisers are departing, and several media owners like Newsweek’s Barry Diller have said that the transition to online will happen but he’s not confirming when just yet.  Yup, pretty depressing indeed. 

But there was one glimmer of hope that we picked up on – about phones which is that we do exclusively – and that was: 

Ever the intrepid media reporter, I looked up from scanning Bon Appétit to see what other people were interested in. A mother and a daughter were locked in conversation, but everyone else was busy reading — their phones.       

You see, we believe that magazines still do work in the marketplace, but only those magazines that work harder and brings more value to readers than just static printed pages.  Not clunky QR codes, or gee wiz 3D looking moving cars, or hidden watermarks (making you the reader to go “find” them – how reader-friendly is THAT).  But imagine leisurely reading your magazine and you wanted to learn more about what’s on that page right in front of you, right now.  Now imagine that instead of tearing out the page and stuffing it in your purse for later, you simply take out your smartphone (because you know that you have it wherever you are anyway), open our app, and take a picture of ANY page of your magazine, and voila, you get a visually pleasing screen on your phone with images and labels that show you all the web-based information that’s available that’s related to that specific page.  And not a generic search results, but web content that’s been hand-selected by the editors so you know it’s completely relevant.  THAT’s what we’re talking about.  THAT’s what Eye Capture does.

We believe that when you produce a product that adds VALUE to readers and their lives in TODAY’s always-on, mobile world, THEN you will have retail and marketplace purchase.  And if readers buy and read your magazines, then advertisers will return as well – in droves actually – because the caliber of user responses via online display advertising is pretty dismal.  These are known magazine buyers.  These people are pretty predisposed to buying stuff advertisers have to sell.  And when 92% of Americans read magazines today,* advertisers can’t afford not to be there.

And THAT’s really exciting news to our ears.


*Source:            GfK MRI Fall 2011


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