Is the Era of Print Over?
Most recently, Modern Lady has also been merged with America’s iconic magazine INSTYLE mag to create new content and the New York Times entered China through a significantly large extension of their local T Magazine.
Consolidations, merges and stronger investment are currently being seen to feed traditional media where I believe a strong shift in consumer behaviour will be created for print media both from a B2B (business to business) perspective as well as B2C (business to consumers).
These special edition magazines competing with the traditional monthly magazines are higher in price, ranging around 8-15$ USD, and could be considered as “collectibles” because of their nature, for example a range of historical events or famous deaths, tribute to famous people, that don’t include advertisements or prominent magazine titles on the cover and usually focused on a specific topic ( i.e. Vogue it girl style, millennial collection, Kardashian Special, Stars of the year, Big Black Book, Official Summer Guide, A decade of iconic Playboy feat etc).
These Bookazines (aka special editions) are simply an accumulation of archives of photographers and articles that are repacked together in order to create the “collectible version” leading to strong margins and ROI on these premium magazines.
“It’s content that magazines have already produced, so they’ve paid for it once and they’re making money off of it twice. And they are making a lot of money off of it” according to BOF sources
As print tumbles, publishers are trying to find more creative ways to keep up with margins and targeting a wider audience range through targeted stories / concepts instead of focusing on their own brand.
Indeed, an assumption to magazines on a consumer level is that they’ll become books of indulgence; quality print, aesthetically appealing editorials, larger visuals and strong themes combined with iconic names are maybe why’d we’d still continue buying print, even for the future millennials, for the art of being inspired, and no longer for the purpose of reading timely news.
“I feel when people press SEND on their computer, it’s only half the job done. Then the other half begins, and your own work can be changed drastically by what happens after that point, which is very seductive in the digital age. Here’s one experience you can’t duplicate online.” says Stephen Gan, editor in chief / founder of V magazine to BOF-2016
“There are too many young people who are still too in love with holding a magazine in their hands to think it will ever die.” He continues to BOF.
From a PR perspective in China, for new entry brands for example, quality first tier print media (either product shooting, features, editorials etc.) will still continue to be very important for these brands in order to increase their credibility amongst local media in a new market as well as showing potential investors, franchisers and distributors the brands positive evolution and acceptance in the market. For new market brands it’s also a great way to start an initial conversation and relation with key media partners.
Apart from the “Bookazines” that we previously mentioned, magazines will most likely suffer in the long run, where it will probably serve more and more for B2B purposes of increasing a brands targeted KPI . Media buy will be done through attractive media advertising package deals on a 360 degree level (i.e. Selfie Media, wechat, H5, DSP’s, vlogging, and Print platforms) for a brand to invest on a media through-out a campaign launch or season for instance.
From a consumer perspective, print will become more of in depth visual content that will give a stronger sense to content and inspiration instead of simple news, gossip and daily mix and match information. Digital can replace most print content apart for high quality visual, the physical touch of thick paper print and ink, combined with the large and thick editorial “bookazine” that gives you a sense of comfort that is currently still irreplaceable to the digital platforms.
Sources: BOF and V Magazine
Photos: all taken from the internet
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