Mr. Magazine’s M.O. : The ABCs of PublishingMay 1, 2012 By Samir "Mr. Magazine" Husni
My magazine alphabet starts with a C and ends with a C. Content, Customers, Clients, Consumers, Choice, Control, Constant and Change are but a few of the Cs that compose my magazine alphabet.
In the big debate over digital first and print second, digital first and content second, one major voice has been ignored: the customer’s. Before I am ready to declare a winner in these heated discussions, I urge you to remember that as journalism changes with the times, so does our audience. I have always believed, and will continue to do so, that the customer comes before anything else, and here is why.
Hank Price is the president and general manager of WXII-TV, the Hearst-Argyle owned NBC affiliate in Winston-Salem, N.C. He is also a senior fellow in broadcast news strategy at Northwestern University’s Media Management Center, where he teaches in both the domestic and international executive training programs.
Recently, I spoke with Price about “customers first.” He identified two important changes influencing consumers today:
1. Choice and 2. Control.
“The consumer wants to achieve choice, on their own time, and at their own pace,” Price told me. “And they want to control the content on their timetable, not ours. That’s why less than 60 percent watch TV programs at their originally aired times.”
He also added the four criteria that consumers are looking for:
1. Trusted sources. His take: “Content for our customers still trumps everything else. It doesn’t matter whether you have an iPad, an iPhone or a PC with the most brilliant screen resolutions available, if you don’t have what your customers are looking for in content, you might as well have a stone tablet with markings on it. They’re not buying it.” My take: It’s not about the platform, but rather the folks behind, and in charge of, the platform.
2. Immediacy. His take: “The public today not only expects immediacy in their content, they demand it.” My take: To borrow a line from Fleetwood Mac: “Yesterday’s gone.”
3. Screen size. His take: “Screen size is growing in the workplace, and getting smaller at home. More people are buying and enjoying apps than ever before. Once you create that magnificent content, you have to give it to them the way they want it. Above all, it’s their choice.” My take: It is a crazy place out there. After years of buying bigger and bigger TVs for our homes, now we are watching TV on our iPhones.