The Digital Initiative: MPA President and CEO Nina Link on the growth consumer magazines are experiencing online
Investment in video is a really big deal. People see that as a real opportunity to extend their brand. [Publishers are] using various widgets for magazine content distribution. [They’re] finding ways to disperse their content in a way to marry advertising where the appropriate audience is gathering already. …
INBOX: How do you see the relationship between consumer publishers’ print and digital content evolving in the next few years?
LINK: I see them working hand-in-hand. I think different categories have different emphases. I see that digital is helping create content that is very vibrant for the print edition. A lot of viewers online are different than those who consume print. They’re getting introduced to the brand online. And some of them are being converted to readers in print. Right now, there is not a lot of crossover. The numbers we track show readership being steady. In some cases, it’s growing. For the most part, people don’t want to read their magazine online. They go online for a different experience. They still love to sit back and get lost in the pages [of a print magazine] … when they want to interact and get immediate information. When they want to do research, they go to the brand online. They’re extremely compatible in some categories. People really love their [print] magazines. It has all the attributes that a person wants today. It’s portable. It’s on-demand. We call it the original laptop. It gives you an escape. I think [print and digital] are very different and compatible experiences. We expect to see that for a very, very, very long time. There’s nothing like the textile relationship that you get for a print magazine.
INBOX: What advice would you give magazine publishers?
LINK: I urge them to be continually experimenting. We’re so early in this game. We need to be constantly looking at how to take these magazine brands and fill the potential and work with community. I think experimenting is one. Look for ways to monetize your content. Having a sole dependency on advertiser sponsorship feels too narrow. Continue to look at how to monetize the digital experience with these brands.