The Power and Future of PRINT…Part VIII As told by Magazine and Magazine Media Makers…January 8, 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 is the eighth installment 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.
113. “I recently returned from England where I had the opportunity to interview the owner of the best manufacturer of large scale model automobiles on the planet. Their models are highly detailed works of art that are custom made for automobile enthusiasts, car manufacturers and race teams. It was during my interview when I asked him what else he had done, to which he replied he had also built industrial scale models of everything from drilling platforms to office buildings for one of the largest commercial architectural firms in the U.K. He then paused and flippantly said that in the design phase, the firm’s customers really preferred his scale models over the 3D digital renderings. He went on to explain that these models were something tangible that the client could touch and feel and see and therefore felt they could trust. I laughed and told him it sounds a lot like the magazine business.” Ron Adams, Founder & Publisher, Via Corsa magazine.
114. “We kind of struggled with that in the beginning, because obviously our age demographic is a digital age group: 18-39. They’re engaging with mobile more than anything, but what we wanted to start with was something really tangible. So, at the base level we wanted it to be something that when you’re in a waiting room, you could find it on the table and you could see it, experience it and actually hold it in your hand.” (on why they decided on a print publication instead of digital-only), Sarah Hubbard, Marketing Director, Out Living It magazine.
115. “A lot of people say that print is declining and digital is the thing these days, but I think there’s still a huge demand for print and I think because the barrier of entry to digital is so low there’s just so much stuff out there that a lot of people like the fact that we have a real print magazine that’s 150 pages and it’s in real bookstores. That could be the one thing, there are competitors out there and there is very little barrier to entry for digital magazines, but I think if we just continue to put out a really good publication and focus on business, we’ll be fine.” Greg James, Publisher, Marijuana Venture magazine.
116. “Could the magazine exist without a print edition? Yes, I guess so. But I know that our readers love the tactile experience of getting a bound magazine in their mailboxes every month. And our subscription sales have been strong. But beyond that, just seeing how our Real Women Style Award winners circled back to our September issue and are on the cover of the magazine is enough to convince you of how much print matters. We unveiled it to one of the winners the other day and she had tears in her eyes and couldn’t believe she was on the cover of a magazine. I think that sums up why print is still an incredibly special medium.” Meredith Rollins, Editor-in-Chief, Redbook magazine.
117. “I think print is the most powerful medium. I think it’s an engagement opportunity for consumers to be hands-on (no pun intended) and connected with the content. I’ve been a magazine fan since high school; I believe in print and always will believe in print. It’s something that you can take with you and have an intimate experience with. The photography is bold; the typography is modern and continues to change. It’s something that you can take with you no matter where you are, from the beach to the boardroom, onboard a boat or onboard a plane; it can go with you everywhere. There’s no place that you can’t take a magazine.” Louis Coletti, Associate Publisher, Luxury Advertising, ShowBoats International magazine.
118. “We enter our 120th year in 2016. The reason House Beautiful has been successful for that many years is because of the stories. This is what you can still turn to print magazines for; you have the luxury of dealing with experts, in fact-checking articles, in creating a photo shoot whole cloth, something brand new to show the reader. This is indulgent in this day and age. Content moves fast and there’s great demand in the digital space to do more and more and more. And I’m sitting here asking: how do I do less better? I want to create the richest, most indulgent experience. This is a chocolate mousse; this is a special treat. And our readers recognize that. I think a great deal about every inch, every page of that magazine. I want to make sure it’s the best that it can be.” Sophie Donelson, Editor-in-Chief, House Beautiful magazine.
119. “Looking at the realities of the business now, I can’t imagine the print product going away in the next 10 years, because frankly too many people want it and it makes too much money. It’s such a gigantic part of our business and just based on consumer demand; I don’t think it’s going to go away.” Jess Cagle, Editorial Director, People magazine.
120. “I believe that magazines will never die. I really do believe that. I think that they will transform and continue to evolve, as they have forever. I believe that black magazines will continue. I think that we will continue to have unique challenges, but also unique successes. Again, as long as the black experience remains a distinctly unique one from the “American” experience, per se, there will be a market for a particular lens. There will be a market for a particular perspective. And I think when you understand that; you understand that black magazines will always have a certain impact. And as you said, the reason there was such a reaction (to the August cover of Ebony) may very well be in part due to the fact that this statement was made on paper.” Kierna Mayo, Editor-in-Chief, Ebony magazine.
121. “In the day and age of “print is dead” we really feel that there’s still a place for print. I work with a group of very young editors who still love print and who still value print. We still believe that if you create something that is well done and artfully put together and you produce it with good, high-quality, there is still a place for print. Print is not dead exclamation point.” Pamela Jaccarino, Editor-in-Chief, Luxe Interiors + Design magazine.
122. “It’s exciting to see your work in both formats, (print & digital) but in different ways. Having said that; I’m not sure how to describe to you how it’s different. I guess the web is more immediate and it generates that immediate, sort of social media response. But seeing your byline in print, on the printed page, it’s like your work is going into a permanent record. And I would think a lot of writers would say the same thing. It’s thrilling in both places for those different reasons.” Lauren Clark, Editor-in-Chief, Take magazine.
123. “The biggest challenge has been, with certain people, to counter this belief that print is on its way out, rather than saying that print is evolving. In our Kickstarter video and with people who have these mindsets, we sort of describe ourselves as being the modern magazine. And that what’s going to be interesting is not whether it’s print or digital. We have a print edition and an online edition that work together. You can get certain information from our online source that doesn’t translate into print, like video and audio, and you can get information through our print edition, such as really beautiful photography, stories that demand to be on the printed page, that doesn’t translate digitally. And that’s where this industry is going; print is not going away.” Michael Kusek, Publisher, Take magazine.
124. “And I think that no matter what happens people are always going to be thirsty for good reads and information. I know that I have romanticized visions of print because I’ve worked in it for my short career after college, the last 12 years, but I just think that print is the perfect medium for this type of project. I don’t think this same project would work online, with the book type thing going on. I just don’t think people want to read 6,000 word features online or on their phones. They want to read short, punchy things and to not take anything away from a lot of current magazines, but my opinion is that a lot of magazines are trying too hard to be like the web, shortening down their content, making columns that are super, super short and blog-like, using hashtags and @ symbols.” Brandon Hayward, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, The Bight magazine.
125. “Print is not going away. Print is the necessary part of this business because that’s where the lion’s share of revenues comes from, but the big guys who are the innovators in the printing industry; they understand that the publishers want to make money and they need to make money. And I think that we have a model that’s flexible enough for them to really test and figure out what will work in their market.” Larry Genkin, Founder & CEO, Eleven Media.
126. It’s not self-help; we’re not a trade vehicle, something that’s designed to help you with the day-to-day running of the business necessarily. But what you have is a lot of people who believe in the power of good journalism to move society forward, to help good ideas rise to the top and to help uncover negative issues when those arise. And I think the cohering DNA of anybody who works at Quartz, whether you are on the editorial, engineering, or marketing teams, is a desire to figure out a way to make high-quality, intellectually rigorous journalism thrive in a digital age.” 127, Publisher & President, Quartz.
127. “We have taught audiences to get content for free and to expect it for free. And in a way, it’s not only bad strategic decisions made 20 years ago when digital technology first began having its impact; if you think about it and go back 300 years, that was the offer then; the quid pro quo. Free or subsidized content in exchange for people’s grudging attention to advertising. It wasn’t so easy to ignore back then. And then when the digital revolution came around and publishers decided to attract an audience first and then figure out how to monetize it through digital advertising, not realizing that CPM’s were going to go down, down, down to the vanishing point, it was then that we reinforced the notion that content was free. So, it’s going to be really hard to retrain audiences to pay for what they’re using.” Bob Garfield, Columnist, Critic, Broadcaster, Author and Lecturer.
128. “No, I don’t see that day in my lifetime. I think that the bond that we have with our audience is really extraordinary. It’s remarkably strong. And don’t get me wrong; we have a very diverse business and we’re being very aggressive about what we’re doing in the digital space and what we’re doing in terms of video and in brand extensions and new businesses and in books. But our readers love the print magazine and we hear from them all of the time asking us to never do anything to the print magazine.” (on whether he can envision a day when Southern Living does not have a printed magazine)Sid Evans, Editor-In-Chief, Southern Living.
Stay tuned for Part IX of the Mr. Magazine™ “Quotable” Retrospective…