The Global World of Magazines: “There is Not That Much Difference in the Way Readers and Users Migrate Between Platforms and Formats for Content,” Says John Relihan, CEO, Media24 Magazines, South Africa. The “Mr. Magazine™” Interview and a Report from South Africa.November 25, 2013
Bringing My Passion For Magazines To Every Continent – Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni Circumferences The Globe With A Visit To Cape Town South Africa And Media24 Magazines
Cape Town, South Africa: Now that I have presented and shown my passion for magazines on every continent on God’s green earth (Africa was the last of the six major continents to visit thanks to Egbert De Waal’s invitation from Media 24 Magazines in Cape Town, South Africa), I’d just like to express how extremely thankful I am for the opportunity and how I am truly blessed to be able to fulfill a dream that started at age 9 in my birthplace town Tripoli, Lebanon. It is an achievement that I am both proud of and excited about.
Audience first has been, and continues to be, the message I am preaching locally, nationally and globally, to anyone in the magazine and magazine media world who’s willing to listen and who’s eager to bring common sense to the magazine publishing industry.
Visiting South Africa, I immediately learned that magazines are the same all over the world and the problems and challenges are also comparable. Much can be learned from the media’s one common theme: staying relevant to your audience. Because without the audience, it doesn’t matter how good your content, which platform you utilize, or how many times you reinvent yourself; you’re just ink on paper or pixels on a screen without someone to flip the pages or click the mouse.
I had the opportunity to ask John Relihan, CEO, Media24 Magazines, a few questions regarding magazines and magazine media in today’s current marketplace in South Africa. His answers, not surprisingly, are as relevant to the remaining five major continents as they are to his own.
So sit back and enjoy the “Mr. Magazine™” Interview with John Relihan, CEO, Media24 Magazines, South Africa:
John Relihan: Staying relevant and useful in reader’s lives
SH: How are you addressing those challenges and what is the solution you are focusing on?
JR: There is no single solution. In an emerging market many people encounter magazines on a regular basis only when they have a fixed income and improved standard of living. For them affordable, printed magazines are very relevant, whilst the middle layer is increasingly opening a window onto the world via the internet on affordable smart phones (we provide our content on this platform and on paper) and the top end seek a different, more sophisticated reading experience with the ability to aggregate and curate what they read, and where.
SH: Do you consider printed magazines as the major source of revenue for you, today, tomorrow and in the future?
JR: Certainly for the next five years. But there has been great growth in subscriptions to our magazine content in different digital formats. Subscriptions to digital editions (PDF format) already represent a quarter of our (Media24 Magazines) subscriber base. For the local industry at large, digital editions still only represent 1.4% of total paid circulation (ABC: July – September 2013).
SH: Is there such a thing as a unique magazine problem to South Africa?
JR: No – the environment we compete in and current state of the economy is what it is. And except perhaps for the scale, there is also not that much difference in the way readers and users migrate between platforms and formats for content locally and elsewhere in more developed markets.
SH: What keeps you up at night?
JR: Apart from the Chihuahua’s minuscule bladder? How to keep track of our readers’ changing consumption habits and to adapt content, products and structures to stay relevant and useful.
SH: Thank you.