Taking a Cue from Cable TV
What does all this mean? So far, this year has been slower for new launches. So what? What this industry needs and needs badly is quality, not quantity. Higher sell-throughs must be our new mantra.
Quality titles should have been the demand and the mantra many years ago. As Samir Husni, “Mr. Magazine,” has stated, “Where there used to be ‘Me, too’ and ‘Me, three’ copycats, we are now seeing ‘Me, 13’ and ‘Me, 14’ titles.”
In my opinion, this copycat mentality has never been good for the sustainability of our industry. It may be quick and easy to steal and borrow, but it usually doesn’t have the sustainability of original thinking.
The industry is in a sort of twilight zone between the way we used to operate and the way we will operate. I think there is a very bright future for the printed side of the magazine business, but not one run under the old business models. New launches will always come, and some of them will always go. There will, for the foreseeable future, always be new print magazines and new print titles. One trend rises and then falls to make room for another. But for the survival of our printed products, we must think to the future, and that is with a new business model of accountability and progressive marketing vision.
For a few years now, in my lectures across the country, I have been putting forth the concept of a “consortium publishing” business model. This is an old, successful business model transplanted from another medium to ours.
The cable TV business model combines a multitude of huge and small media aggregators together in a solo purchased package to the consumer. My suggestion is to mirror the package deals of this medium. This will work excellently for both print and online. It uses the power and accountability of the online digital business with flexibility and creativity. And it can offer creative business models within the plan.