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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James

 

B2B Beat

Andy Kowl
How to Create Online Content Readers Will Pay For
Jul 17, 2014

Pity the poor consumer publishers getting millions of website visitors each month. The flipside of those universal topics generating huge...



Media Vent

Bob Sacks
The Power of Instantaneous Feedback
Jul 16, 2014

Being a writer and a successful e-newsletter publisher has had some interesting repercussions that are completely understandable and at 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...



Publishers' Dojo

Linda Ruth
Where Can I Get a Tattooed Pig? Check Modern Farmer Magazine
Jun 6, 2014

Is a tattooed pig art? Where do scarecrows come from? Where can I find recipes for clothing? And what do...



Industry Insiders

The Insiders
New York Times ‘Innovation Report’ Points Way to Digital Future
May 23, 2014

The leaked New York Times Innovation Report highlights the challenges it is facing in the digital age, but more importantly, it echoes...



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...



Profit from Publishing!

Thaddeus B. Kubis
Media Conference Exhibitors Should Go Deeper to Engage
Oct 9, 2013

It has been a few weeks since I attended (as the guest of the event organizer) the Publishing Business Conference...



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.

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