A Shocking New World
Remember the days when Publisher’s Clearinghouse was more than a jackpot for one lucky winner, when it was an easy way for magazines to turn subs into profit? Well, Ed McMahon may no longer be knocking on the publishing door with a fat check, but industry insiders believe that everything from the Web to taking a more visual outlook to print can still turn a healthy profit.
If a picture is worth a thousand words then Mike Hammer, editor in chief of New York-based Shock, the highly publicized new Hachette-Filipacchi title, is about to save a ton on those pesky $1-a-word freelancers. Heck, the guy might even get the pictures for free, looking to his readership to provide some of the strongest photos in exchange for prizes and photo credits.
“We live in a time where a lot of our news is coming from ‘The Daily Show,’ ” he says. “Rather than try to deny television’s takeover, we should join them and gain from the visual trend.” Hammer, whose career includes posts at TV Guide, Maxim and Stuff—other somewhat photo-driven titles—ought to know. “You also have to consider the role readers can have in shaping a magazine visually because of how many people are carrying around digital cameras and camera phones,” he says. “It’s even an opportunity to allow your community to grow by involvement. Think of what a Web site is—it’s all about reader interaction for it to grow. People want to believe they’re a part of something.”
Erika Lopez, associate publisher of Emeryville, Calif.-based Mix—a magazine for the professional recording and sound production technology industry, distributed in 94 countries—says she finds many readers on her magazine’s site today who previously never found her via the Web.
“Everyone’s talking about how online extras like extended stories and streaming audio and video pull new readers in,” she says. “Newsletter subscriptions and gaining print subscriptions through online also are opening things up. We’re heading in a direction of being much more a part of the Web, and a magazine that doesn’t will just miss out.”