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That Light at the End of the Tunnel is Not a Train & On the Need to Charge for Content

January 9, 2010

Last week I wrote a column regarding magazine circulation and the need to charge more for our content that appeared as a point-counter-point in Audience Development magazine and I also gave an interview to Publishing Executive Insider newsletter about the state of the magazine industry and the upcoming Publishing Business Conference and Expo that I am co-chairing in New York City this coming March.

Here is the intro to my interview with Publishing Executive Insider newsletter:

That Light at the End of the Tunnel Is Not a Train, Says Mr. Magazine
January 7, 2010
By Matt Steinmetz

Magazine industry advocate Samir Husni, who many know simply as “Mr. Magazine,” has made a career out of championing the magazine publishing business. Ever its defender, Husni is not afraid to be among the industry’s strongest critics, either. As co-chair of the 2010 Publishing Business Conference & Expo (PBC), he is playing a central role in the development of a conference program for magazine publishers struggling to, as he puts it, “ensure the success and survival of the old and trusted magazines and the new and upcoming magazines.”

In an interview on Thursday with Publishing Business Insider, the e-newsleter for the PBC community, Husni blasts the “major media companies … still in a state of coma … refusing to believe that the American business model that depends in large part on advertising is dead.” But he also offers a number of reasons for optimism, led by the publishers he sees that have begun to sell “experiences rather than content, thus making ink on paper or pixels on a screen more than just content.”

You can read the entire interview here.

As for the point-counter-point column that I wrote for the Winter 2010 issue of Audience Development magazine, here is the intro to that article:

The A|B Split
Are ultra-cheap magazine subscriptions good or bad business?
By Bill Mickey
Monday, January 4, 2010

With the decline in advertising, media companies have been exploring ways to coax more revenue from their readers. One by-product of this process has been a resurgence in paid content online. Yet that strategy requires publishers to convince readers that the content they’ve been getting for free in an ad-supported model is now valuable enough to pay for. Tangentially, print content is getting the same scrutiny, with publishers examining ways to wring more money from cover and subscription pricing. So, when a magazine promotes too-good-to-be-true subscription deals, some observers cringe at what they think is a tactic that only serves to bloat circulation and devalue the product. Others say not so fast, cheap subscriptions are simply one part of a wide array of marketing tactics that incrementally sustain and feed circulation, and cheap first offers often lead to high pay-up rates. Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni, founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, and John Klingel, former president of consumer magazine marketing at Reader’s Digest, offer their cases for and against cheap subscriptions.

We Can’t Add Value if It’s Perceived as Valueless
By Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni, Ph.D.

A few months ago I visited with the folks at Western Horseman and saw a sign on the wall that made me smile. This sign was simple and to the point, and it showed me that even though our industry is changing around us on a daily basis, there are some things that will never change. The sign simply said: “The only way to make a magazine better for the advertiser is to make it better for the reader.”

Read the my entire column and that of Mr. Klingel here.

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One comment

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by MrMagazine: Read my interview with Publishing Executive Insider and my column in Audience Development magazine. http://wp.me/p3FXF-Qo



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