Magazines in 2011: a view from the top
As the UK's magazine industry begins to convene for the PPA's Inspiration & Innovation: Publishing 2011 conference today, Media Week talks to four distinct and influential magazine professionals about where they think the business is heading.
Viewpoints from those at the top of the magazine industry
Publishing director, Radio Times
The magazine industry is a vibrant sector worth over £1,573m at retail in the past year. Savvy publishers should never lose sight of the power and profitability of the print medium. But neither should they ignore the dazzling array of opportunities that digital brings. Those that succeed will be the ones that cherish their trusted brand, understand what their audience wants and how that differs across different platforms and then delivers great content.
This has always been an exciting industry to work in, but now so more than ever as we start to profitably extend our brands into new channels, new products and new audiences.
Editor, TimeOut London
I have no time for doom-merchants. Even less time when I see the exciting developments in our brilliant industry: big gains for interiors and home mags, womens mags and many others in the latest ABCs. More launches than closures. A very positive ad picture in the States and increasingly over here.
As an editor I - like all other editors - know the future success of our titles are in our hands. New launches can work, sales can go up and a positive change in fortunes can certainly happen - at Time Out we became all too aware of this fact when we announced our first news-stand sales increase in 17 years last year and were rewarded with two PPA Awards for that and our other achievements. The future will be bright - let's just stay positive and make it happen.
UK Publisher, The Economist
Despite being 168 years old, The Economist is having a bit of a moment right now. The rolling impacts of globalisation, war, and the world's economy - still in flux - have led to increased demand for analysis of the news. The Economist's editorial has always looked beyond the domestic headlines to present a reasoned yet opinionated perspective on what is happening, and so we are well-placed to meet the needs of readers searching for those things.
The newspaper is at the heart of what we do. However, the launch of The Economist on iPhone and iPad last year has provided readers with even greater choice over how they read. This shows that a strong, clear-headed brand needn't be constrained within one channel. The important thing for us is getting our content out to our readers in whichever medium they choose at the time - whether that be the paper in the bath or the website in their lunch hour.
General manager, Condé Nast
We are gradually ridding ourselves of the notion that magazines have to be on paper, and content will move to digital screens at a rate that is in direct relation to the weight of the paper it was printed on (i.e. newspapers first, World of Interiors last).
In the digital world, the competitive set is more fluid, closer, and the hierarchy of attractions on a digital screen (games, video, images, words) will require a magazine to be more creative, shout louder and continually reinvent itself in the face of self-curated social media. Magazines with strong brands and with a vibrant creative DNA can thrive in this environment if they get this right; the others, the numbers 2 and 3 in their markets, may struggle.
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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