The Power And Future Of PRINT As Told By Magazine And Magazine Media Makers…Part IJanuary 1, 2016
A Mr. Magazine™ “Quotable” Retrospective
I have been a firm believer in print and its power even when many doubted its future and even its role in today’s media world. I have been quoted as saying, “As long as we have human beings, we will have print.” And that quote stands firm and true as we enter into a brand New Year.
Of course, I’m not oblivious to the fact that we live in a digital age…just check the many devices you and I are using on a daily basis, even the platform that you’re reading this on now as we connect. Yet that did not deter my belief in the role and future of print. Nor, will it ever.
However, as an academic and a professor of journalism, I’d rather share with you what others from the field say about the future and the role of print in today’s media world and tomorrow’s; that way it isn’t just my word you’re hearing and reading. Never would I yearn to be lumped in with others who pontificate to high heaven with their opinions and speculations for the condition of magazines and magazine media; be it print or digital or any other platform that may arise before I can finish writing this. The blah-blah-blah disease spreads pretty fast on its own, without any help from Mr. Magazine™.
And so without any further ado, here are the first 16 out of the 136 quotes (in random order) that Mr. Magazine™ has accumulated over the last two years through the wonderfully informative conversations I have had with the game changers and the passionate entrepreneurs in the magazine industry.
1.“There’s an advantage with print in that it is wholly an intimate and static environment by which you can consume the content, so as your reading it’s quiet and it’s intimate. And the looking at photographs and the movement of photographs in print also has an intimacy and quietness to it. Whereas on the web, it’s unfortunate that you consume the web generally on a device that also is being used for a lot of other things like email and text messaging, phone calls and everything else that’s coming in to that device and hence that quietness I was talking about is broken. And it becomes a more disruptive environment and because of that, words and static pictures have a tendency to feel lacking, particularly when you’ve got everything else buzzing and speaking and making noise and moving all around it.” David Griffin, Art Director, Smithsonian Journeys, and Founder, Griffin Studio
2. “People want something beautiful in their hands; I see it over and over. And again, the requests we were getting, even before the first issue came out with all the buzz we received, but after the second issue, and no pun intended on the buzz (Laughs), after that issue did come out the requests have been in the thousands every week.” Meridith May, Editorial Director and Publisher, The Clever Root, The Tasting Panel, and The Somm Journal.
3. “I think that print has the ability to commemorate a moment. I think it was a top executive at ESPN Magazine years ago who was talking about being at Tiger Woods’ house and he went down into his basement and there alongside all of his major trophies, he had framed his first cover of ESPN Magazine. And his first cover of Sports Illustrated. And that’s something that magazines can do; they can commemorate a moment in time and they do convey, when done right, a sort of importance.” Cindi Leive, Editor-in-Chief, Glamour magazine.
4. “Print is never going to go away. We already have a very, very healthy newsstand base and subscriber base. We’re over delivering on our audience, our advertisers, and we’ve broken into the Top 10 bestselling magazines on American newsstands. So, it’s clear that there’s a strong desire to see Dr. Oz’s brand represented in print. And that people like the version that we’re doing right now.” Jill Herzig, Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Oz The Good Life magazine.
5. “In terms of revenue from luxury advertisers, we’ve seen growth in print. Obviously, we’ve seen it in digital too; that’s a growing area, everyone knows that. But it’s rewarding to know that for a product like Wallpaper* in print, there is a market for it. It’s something that people treat as a moment to absorb media in a luxury way, as opposed to on your mobile phone, which is much more about news and immediacy and for solving immediate problems. I think print still has that place where you sort of lose yourself and relax.” Tony Chambers, Editor-in-Chief, Wallpaper*magazine.
6. “I like being able to hold our product. All of the design is done on a computer in the digital space, but we even have a wall that we put up and place the printouts of the design on so that we can take a look. Even then these flat spreads are just single sheets of paper. It’s just a completely different experience when we get our advances in from the printer and we can actually flip through it and it’s a bound piece of work. It really comes together then in a way that, for me at least, is hard to replicate in a digital space.” Dustin McNeal, Art Director, GX magazine.
7. “I think the printed magazine’s mission is to curate all of these things that might be of the reader’s interest and put it into the perfect format that you don’t need to plug in and charge; in fact, you don’t need to do anything with it except enjoy it. You can take it with you everywhere and you can keep it forever. It’s a good photography of the time that it shows. If you see the magazine in 20 years’ time and you pick it up and read it; you’ll find that it’s a perfect history book because you can see the time represented in its pages vividly.” Maria Pardo de Santayana, Editor-in-Chief, Marie Claire magazine, Spain.
8. “It’s fascinating, the last thing that we feel in our brand here is that print is a difficult sell or that print is dying. I think that AD lives in a very unique place in the marketplace in that the subject matter is an extremely tactile one. It is still a product that our reader demographic wants to consume as a printed product.” Giulio Capua, Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer, Architectural Digest magazine.
9. “Magazines to me are not the thing that people carry around in their purse or under their arm as much as they used to, but the magazine to me is a quieter activity; it’s a less hectic information experience. It’s not like going through your Twitter feed or your Instagram feed where things are coming at you from every space. It’s a highly-curated space in time that you have for yourself. Before I even came here, I thought to myself, what is the BH&G reader doing and how is he or she looking at the magazine and I think it’s like a me-time moment where he or she has a moment during the day when things are quiet, kids are in bed or there’s a quiet space in the day and she’s going to sit for a while and look through her favorite magazine. We want to be that magazine.” Stephen Orr, Editor-in-Chief, Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
10. “I think it functions holistically. When we think about our health holistically, we don’t just say if we run we’ll be healthy. Or I eat right, so therefore I don’t have to exercise. They all have to work together, but I think we are stronger for figuring out how they can all work together in meaningful ways and support each other. We get amazing cover subjects on the cover of our magazine. And there is no better poster for the brand than the magazine and that’s why we put so much time, attention, effort, thought and creativity into making these covers. And then these covers go everywhere. They’re on the homepage of Yahoo; they’re being spread socially through all of Ronda Rousey’s fan pages, and my sister, my best friend; everyone is a part of this.” Joyce Chang, Editor-in-Chief, Self magazine. (On what she believes is the cornerstone of the SELF brand)
11. “One of the big things that have come out of this is that, perhaps some people thought we were crazy to launch a paper product a year ago; people were looking at us and saying, are you sure you want to do this and we said yes, absolutely. We believe in magazines in the food category and we believe there’s a market and we believe we have something great to offer. And we were confident that it would work and we were right. Actually, people welcome new magazines when you’re doing them the right way, because you’ve seen what’s happened in past years; a lot of publishers have been their own worst enemies, with smaller editorial ratios and decreasing the overall quality of the magazine, such as the paper.” Marie-Josè Desmarais, Publisher, Ricardo magazine.
12. “For me what this magazine represents is a prize that you can keep on your table; the design is so thoughtful and the colors are so rich and the photography striking. I do think that with the Internet and online journalism there’s an immediacy to news nowadays that isn’t our purpose. Our purpose is to have something that’s kind of a keepsake that you want to really look at. So, I do think that print, as we’ve seen in the industry, is continuing to grow. We’re all just trying to make it the most gorgeous process that we can to differentiate from everything else that’s out there.” Emma Rosenblum, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg Pursuits magazine.
13. “Having been a teacher, I worked in a school that had no lack of resources. It was a private school in D.C. But whenever I tried to use the laptop cards or bring my kids to one of those free computer labs, we always had trouble. Through the tried-and-true ink on paper; I was never let down, nor were my kids. And just the tactile nature of it and being able to pull it off a shelf and escape into text; it’s just a kind of reprieve that kids need to escape the noise in their lives.” Jill Colella, Founder, Butternut magazine.
14. “I think that you can really have a lot of things on your desktop or on your mobile phone, in the sense that you collect movies, TV shows, music and images, but the type of collectability that we’re talking about is very different. A magazine is something that lives as a whole and not just as one story. A magazine is about the conceptualization of each image and the way each story relates to the other. It’s a living package, a living organism and it’s not just something that can be taken apart.” Stefano Tonchi, Editor-in-Chief, W magazine.
15. “Now, that we’re incredibly successful, the challenge is how do we continue to keep this beautiful print product special and continue the growth? I believe we absolutely have runway in print, despite the decline in the overall print market, and we’ll scale digitally. And that’s really what’s exciting for both of us because we’ve achieved such great success in the past five years and there’s so much brand love. When we look at various studies and data about our readers and brand awareness; if they know us, they love us. So, how do we spread the brand love and how do we scale? And that’s been a really fun and exciting challenge for us.” Lucy Kriz, Publisher, W magazine.
16. “How can you be relevant if you’re a print publication when you have to be able to bring all the information together, digest it, make it pretty and distribute it? The print publication is I would say a quarter of our business. The media aspect of it – the web presence, the mobile app, the videos – they all support the now, the immediacy of the information. But the print publication puts it into a medium that is coming back into popularity. I think in the last 10 years for publications there has been a downtrend of desire for print publications. But, specifically for niche focuses and for connoisseurs, having that print medium is a fundamental need in the core business.” Eugenio Garcia, Co-Founder and Publisher, Cannabis Now magazine.
Stay tuned for Part II of the Mr. Magazine™ “Quotable” Retrospective…