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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James

 

Media Vent

Bob Sacks
The Answer to Publishing's Enigma of Survival
Jan 27, 2015

Many of the people who read this blog are in one way or another devoted to the process of print....



B2B Beat

Andy Kowl
Private Equity Firms Taking Over B2B Media
Jan 13, 2015

Private Equity firms are now the dominant players in B2B publishing. They probably own less than half of all B2B...



Publishers' Dojo

Linda Ruth
Nook’s VP of Marketing on “Delivering An Experience” on Ereaders
Dec 19, 2014

I spoke with Jeanniey Mullen, VP of Marketing for Nook. Jeanniey spent five years developing and marketing Zinio's award-winning digital...



Industry Insiders

The Insiders
The Real Cost of Content Marketing
Dec 10, 2014

How do you respond to advertisers who want to blog more and advertise less? Do you discuss with them the...



The Digital Market

Thea Selby
Top 5 Mobile Trends for Publishers—It’s Good News, Folks
Jul 7, 2014

Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is one of my s/heroes. In this day and age of branded...



Publisher's Paradox

Andrew Davis
Publisher’s Paradox: Your Newsletter Subscribers Are Being Overfed
Apr 28, 2014

Charlie Magazine, based in Charleston, South Carolina, isn't asking its readers to subscribe to everything. Instead, Charlie is inviting readers...



Can Print Publishers Learn Something From Pornography?

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So I was checking out the skin mags at the newsstand the other day. Hey, it's part of my job! And I didn't actually open any of them—honest! But I did notice something interesting.

As we all know, the good ol'-fashioned porn trade has fallen on hard times, what with all the competition from a little thing called the Internet. Here in Philadelphia, the last of the city's XXX theaters closed late last year. Long considered a sore spot along a major downtown thoroughfare, the theater is slated to be replaced by—of all things—condos and cafes. Just another stake in the heart to those pining for that "Taxi Driver"-"French Connection" early-'70s vibe.

Things are no better for "gentleman's" magazine publishers like Playboy Enterprises, Inc., Larry Flynt Publications and FriendFinder Networks (publisher of Penthouse). Surprisingly, on the day I scoped it out, Hustler was not even on the magazine rack, which was mostly made up of titles I'd never heard of like Cheri, Club and High Society. Two Playboy special editions were advertised as final issues. A lower rack with the familiar black privacy bar only held a couple of porno mags; it was mostly filled with the likes of Details, GQ and Men's Journal.

All the sex magazines were wrapped in plastic and most were advertising DVDs inside. It seems these magazines won't sell without video—perhaps the only way to compete with multimedia websites. There may be a few reasons for this. DVDs provide permanence beyond what is out there on the Web. With increasing monitoring of online activity, it's a way to avoid leaving digital footprints. As for the value proposition, these magazines claim their ride-alongs carry a value up to $70, which may or may not be true but surely sounds good to consumers looking for the best deal.

Though it seems like a throwback to the '90s, other magazine publishers might consider reintroducing CDs and DVDs occasionally—especially in the enthusiast space, highly pictorial magazines like National Geographic (which of course has robust video production capabilities) and special collector's editions. One of the arguments for print is that it is a non-ephemeral object and keepsake. We all know how much people love video. If we're going to play around with e-ink, augmented reality and digital watermarks in order to spice up print editions, maybe the occasional inclusion of hard-copy multimedia still makes sense.

Companies Mentioned:

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