‘I’m Not Trying to Ignore Digital, I’m counting on it’: Big Ideas Behind the Relaunch of EGM
When Ziff Davis shuttered Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) in January, most observers saw just one more sign of the print apocalypse. The company easily found a buyer for the title’s main online asset, www.1up.com, but the rights to EGM itself, even online, languished. No one wanted to invest in the magazine with over 500,000 readers and a bulletproof editorial reputation in the 21st century’s most explosive media market (bigger than movies and music combined).
No one except Steve Harris, who started the magazine more than 20 years ago with the proceeds from organizing a professional video game tournament.
In May, Harris acquired the rights to EGM in all formats and announced plans to relaunch in print later this year. To many, that will sound like purchasing the Titanic while bobbing in its lifeboats. But Harris just might have the future vision print magazines so desperately need.
INBOX: Conventional wisdom says print magazines are taking a beating and that high-tech readers especially are moving away from print. What signs do you see that the print version of EGM has life left in it?
STEVE HARRIS: I would remind you that at the time [Ziff Davis suspended publication of EGM], it had an audience of more than half a million readers. I believe there still exists an audience that enjoys print … . Web sites are a great tool when you know what information you want to read. A Web site is less effective at providing information and insight that the reader may not have known they had an interest in before turning the page. …
For various reasons, some publishers are being forced into choices between formats (especially print and online) instead of finding a way for the various media formats to complement each other. … What hasn’t appeared in the gaming category is a platform designed to appeal to both types of readers in a single product. Some see digital as an obstacle to print. I don’t. I’m not trying to ignore what digital does — I’m counting on it.