Magazine Industry Conference ‘Strikes Chord’ With Publishing Executives
The panel’s moderator kicked off the session noting, “Today, the magazine industry prints 10 copies to sell four. That’s not very efficient, and in a digital world efficiency is everything.” Sacks went on to champion the importance of publishers embracing this digital world. “In talking about the successful future of publishing, I think you’re really talking about electronic publishing or, as I like to call it, El-CID: electronically coordinated information distribution. We must no longer consider ourselves as just print publishers, journalists and media professionals, we are information distributors. It doesn’t matter how you do it—print, online, PDA-—it’s content that’s king.
“El-CID is our ability to deliver information to multiple platforms, in an instant and on a global basis. That is what your business paradigm must be if you intend to survive,” he said.
Hawk’s company took the unconventional route to publishing industry success. He co-founded TechTarget as an online-only content provider in 1999 before adding print publications, and asserted that content—not necessarily distribution channels—is key to being a successful publisher. “Publishing as an industry has often been focused on the distribution vehicle, first and foremost. And successful publishing companies today … start with [asking the question], ‘what does the audience care about?’ and work out the distribution platforms after that.”
Forbes.com provides an interesting model in that the magazine is made available online with “completely unfettered access the night before the magazine hits newsstand,” said Smith, and several days before the printed issues reach subscribers. But the majority of Forbes.com’s 15 million unique visitors each month aren’t logging in to read the magazine, Smith says, but rather to view the site’s extensive online-specific content. Forbes.com has a unique model in that it is an entirely separate company from the magazine and therefore employs separate editorial and ad staffs.