Keeping the magazine alive

An article in this week's Financial Times is describing the uphill battle single copy magazines are having at the supermarket. Seems no one is browsing at the check-out line but instead, whipping out their mobiles.

In the article David Carey President of Hearst Magazines said "Everyone that has products at checkouts has to battle for consumer attention."

And while some magazine publishers are now launching mobile efforts with promotional tie-ins, they're just not working that well.
And while the Financial Times points out this is a larger issue with all things in the check-out line (gum and candy, too) they don't neglect the biggest reason of all, at least in the states: the economy.

By now every tax payer in America realized we didn't just tax the rich. The restored payroll tax has eaten into the pockets of everybody. Those with the least amount of dosh are thinking twice about where they're spending it. That five or six dollar issue of Cosmo no longer seems worth it.

As we get less and less cluttered and more and more cloud based, consumers just want all their shit in one place. But just 'cause they've got tablets and mobiles, it doesn't mean they want an version of their magazine on steroids. When David Carey spoke at Mashable's Media Summit back in November, he found just the opposite.

"We had to find out whether people wanted something all-new and interactive, or if they just wanted the magazine in mobile mode," Carey recounted onstage at Mashable's Media Summit in New York City Friday. "The industry overshot the interactivity early on. What we discovered is that most people just want the product itself."

Dear Digital Cd's, please reread that quote and let it sink in: People do not give a shit about extended content. Put the mirror down and stop talking to yourself.

The same rules apply to the check-out line as they do the digital space. It's all about proper placement. If they don't see your 'zine it won't sell. The difference is that no one has figured out how to create digital newsstands that work in the same way. It may not matter if your magazine has a hundred year history and everybody knows it, but it's bad news if you wanted to launch a new magazine. Then again, it's always been hard to start and keep running a magazine. That really isn't news. The real question how will people successfully launch a magazine on a tablet. And by 'success' i don't mean "getting a million likes." I mean "making money."

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Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.