Tips to Propel Publishers Beyond Traditional Thinking
MediaIDEAS’ David Renard says publishers need to be proactive in creating a smart strategy for handling the coming shift to greater digital distribution.
Renard is co-founder of mediaIDEAS, a global consultancy providing advice to publishers looking for guidance during the current transformation the magazine industry is experiencing. Renard, a veteran of both the publishing and technology sides of the business, believes an opportunity exists for informed publishers to keep the magazines relevant if they embrace new technologies in smart ways.
“Publishers are going to have to fight to remain relevant,” he says.
He spoke this week with Publishing Executive Inbox about his thoughts on the periodic magazine medium and how this form of content distribution will continue to evolve in the years to come. Below are several tips and predictions offered by Renard during that discussion.
Paper periodical readers will eventually become a niche market.
“You’ll find that digital magazines, over the [next] 10 years, will become the main source of magazine readership,” Renard says. “Print will become what vinyl is for the music industry. It will be the smaller share of the industry.”
Prepare now. The digital changeover is going to happen fast.
“The industry is changing dramatically, very quickly, and we still are stuck in business models that have worked for us for hundreds of years,” Renard says. “In some cases, if it’s worked why would you change it? But just like vinyl was replaced in something like 13 years by tapes and then CDs, given the right technology, MP3s will replace CDs in less than that. Given the right technology, medium and application, the printed periodical that we’ve grown to love will go through a tremendous change. But the concept [of what a magazine is] doesn’t change.”
Think of magazine articles as songs and the magazines themselves more like albums.
“The analogy is not complete,” says Renard. “The magazine still has value as a complete work. But the articles and the sections will become increasingly important in a way that perceives the branding of the publisher. … What happens is that the branding no longer is in the magazine level, but the section level. That’s going to become increasingly important.”