Archive for the ‘Print v. Online’ Category

Spears Atlantic Cover is Old News

March 19, 2008

I was in Story Worldwide’s office in South Norwalk, CT (SoNo, fool) today meeting lotsa people and just generally working on building this Post-Advertising Age thing, so I had little time for the usual magazine musings. Apologies. Tomorrow, I’ll have something interesting ad page-wise for you about one of mighty Reed’s books. For now, a quick hit.

During one of the many meetings I was in today, I caught the March 10 Ad Age out of the corner of my eye and saw Nat Ives’s article about how a Britney Spears on the cover of Atlantic Monthly means that the magazine has lost its soul. I’d like to say as a disclaimer that I did not have a chance to read the full article. I do think that something fundamental has changed at Atlantic, though. Quick hits on the Web (see: The Current), a newsstand-focused cover…it’s about money. People ragged on this, one of my favorite magazines, when it was “out of touch” and a sinkhole for greenbacks. Now that it’s doing something to make money, it takes flack — from me included…see this.

All that being said, I read the Britney article today, and I have to say it was quite good. It fit well between Clive Crooks “Sins of Emission” about the Kyoto Protocol and Ross Douthat’s “The Return of the Paranoid Style” about the Iraq war’s effect on the Hollywood machine. And this is from a guy who can’t name more than five Britney songs, if that many, and doesn’t have a TV.


The Future of News

March 12, 2008

I was at the McGraw-Hill Media Summit for part of today. As one of the many attentive staff pointed out to me, the small rooms and the winding nature of the mezzanine level of the McGraw-Hill building encourages small group discussions/networking/etc. Indeed. What separates this conference from many others is that the sessions are intensely interesting; so much so that I didn’t find myself fighting the urge to leave and chat.

The one I’ll talk about here was called “The Changing Face of News: The power, The Influence and the Challenge of the Technologies”. Panelists:

– Julia Wallace, editor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

– Kinsey Wilson, executive editor, USA Today

– Howell Raines, media columnist, Conde Nast Portfolio

– David Westin, president, ABC News

– Jon Klein, president, CNN/US

And the moderator was Jon Fine, the media columnist for BusinessWeek.

Fine was very good at asking pointed questions, and the panelists were fairly candid. I took about five pages of notes. First, some highlights, then some analysis…all after the jump.


More Pics from MPA’s Digital Day

February 29, 2008

 MPA prez and CEO, Nina Link, and Hearst VP of content and biz dev, Chrisopher Johnson

Enjoy these, kiddos.  Click below for more.


Integrated Sales are Just Like Sex

February 28, 2008

As told to Mark Dacey by a “senior magazine publisher” who he would not name at MPA’s Magazines 24/7 conference:

“Integrated ad sales are just like sex: Everybody is talking about it but nobody is doing it.”

Winners of MPA’s 2nd Annual Digital Awards

February 28, 2008

Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty and GM, Michael Silberman

Best online video: Slate’s Justice Scalia Joins 24.

This video is very funny, but I was more engrossed in general by runner up, National Geographic‘s Gorilla Massacre.

Best online community: FanNation from

I like this site, and I like SI a lot, but I can’t help but think of ESPN’ s overwhelming online presence when I think of SI. According to, SI’s 100,000 monthly uniques in the month of January were dwarfed by SI’s 1.5 million. Obviously that will change in February with the swimsuit issue. See the chart here.

Best online video series: Newsweek‘s Voices of the Fallen

There was an eerie moment when this winner was announced. For every winner, if appropriate, a clip was played on the video monitor. This clip was obviously of a dead soldier talking. I could tell that the minds of everyone around me drifted thousands of miles away. A very somber moment.

Best Web-only tool: National Geographic Your Shot Jigsaw Puzzle

Twice a bridesmaid (didn’t win twice previously in the ceremony)….

Best Blog:’s Daily Intelligencer

It had to be gossip. And why not? Obviously New York Mag is really on a roll after sweeping the MPA’s print awards (the National Magazine Awards) last year.

Best mobile strategy: Bicycling “GPS Rides Tool”

Makes sense. GPS is the best and most obvious strategy for many magazines. Imagine getting NYMag‘s top restaurant choices text messaged to you just as you saunter into the right neighborhood around dinner time….

Best Podcast: Fiction Podcast

Smarting, I’m sure, after the brand of almost the same name swept it in the National Magazine Awards.

Best Entertainment Web site:

The site with the big, overarching thematic name comes up with the big win.

Best Fashion Web site:

Two for two on big names/big ideas winning. Looks like brands aren’t as important online…. Is Condenet prematurely moving away from its portal strategy?

Best Service/Lifestyle site:

Take that, Eustice!

Best Sports site:

That’s two for Time Inc. Terry McDonald, managing editor of SI says: “There’s no better place to get an award than right here from you people. It’s very clear to everyone in this room that the future is here.”

Best News/Social/Business/Finance site:

Hurrah for the big ideas! And for Time Inc.!

More on here and here.

Magazines 24/7: Keynote

February 28, 2008

Gunnar Garfors

Because lunch was a buffet, the keynote was just before lunch and brief: Kudos to MPA for figuring it out — nobody wants to listen to a speech during lunch. (And I doubt anyone wants to speak while others are eating.)

Anyway, the keynote was by an interesting fellow named Gunnar Garfor, who is the director of development for NRK, the largest TV station in Norway. Gunnar shared some insight about his company’s own experimentation with mobile and traditional media (in this case, broadcast television). Here are some insights:

– You can use mobile and print (TV in his case) to circumvent the Internet. Editors can encourage reader engagement by calling them to text message responses to questions posed in print. The key to circumventing the Internet in this relationship is to make sure the texting isn’t one-way. Once the reader’s cell phone number is obtained, a response to their response and other relevant information can and should be sent their way. Monetization on this relationship is crude: Compiling and selling cell phone and other information to third parties. But I think that this kind of reader engagement can pay dividends in other ways, such as branding and affinity. Furthermore, there will be ways in the future when US handheld usage is much higher, to monetize an SMS relationship, so dipping one’s toes in to figure out how it might work isn’t a bad idea.

– NRK found out that when they showed a certain kind of photograph online and asked for response, their users would respond in kind. A simple principle, but the larger message is that sharing of photo, video, and even audio is one of the exciting places where the Internet is growing. “Clouds” of information — online photo albums, documents, and apps — are where Microsoft and Google are scrambling to plant their flags. Magazines can be there too, as a nexus of shared information. This would work especially well in the enthusiast space, where readers/users are especially keen on networking around their crafts/interests. Wouldn’t you like to see a picture of my boat? I’d like to see one of yours.

Magazines 24/7: Letting Go of Your Brand: The Rewards of Untethering Your Content

February 28, 2008

Alexis Ohanian is aided by animals

This panel, due to the length of the panelists’ presentations — one of which featured multiple pictures of cute animals with “funny” captions — wasn’t really much of a panel at all. But I gleaned a few useful facts nonetheless. I actually preferred this format: I don’t think the panel format for learning at conferences works too well, but that’s another discussion for another time.

My man from reddit, co-founder Alexis Ohanian, gave away a pretty useful if not obvious bit of info: How do I get my content on reddit? For those of you not in the know, reddit is the social media site that allows its readers to collectively rank articles and move them up and down on a main page through a voting process. It can be a HUGE boon to traffic. Anyway, the answer is great content. A site like reddit goes to show that content is indeed king online; your readers are one click away from a rivals site…only great content or a broken mouse will keep them on yours. Unless you want to change your mission to going around breaking your readers’ mouses, I’d work on creating great content.

Tariq Krim, founder and CEO of Netvibes, unaided by animal pictures of any kind, says that the next step for branded content to expand on th Web would be to determine its widget strategy. The next evolution on the Web is personalization (think iGoogle), he says, so magazines have to make it easy for their readers to have a relationship with them online without necessarily having to visit the site every time.

The third guy was good, too.

Magazines 24/7: Must See Magazine TV

February 27, 2008

Matt Roush moderates a panel comprised of Tammy Haddad, Bob Huseby, Lesley Pinckney, and Ann Shocket

This 10:20 AM panel was the first I caught at the Magazine Publishers of America digital media conference, the fourth annual Magazines 24/7; I like to start my digital days a bit late.  I’m going to write about a few of these panels.  I’m not going to do that thing where I go through the entire panel and tell you all that was said.  I’m just going to extract some main points for ya’ll.  Buckle up (says Marc Bulger)!

Tammy Haddad of Haddad Media and Newsweek really dominated this discussion.  She used a prop — a $750 hand held digital camcorder — to do so.  Her beat is politics/the election, and she uses her little camera to do down and dirty interviews of candidates and top pundits…like Sylvester Stallone (endorsed McCain on her camera…ineloquently).  Two points here:

– “You’re there on the scene for $1,000 [referring to the cost of the camera, expenses, etc] and ABC is there with $100,000 of equipment.  You’ve already done an interview and uploaded it while they’re looking for lattes.”  We know that you can do video on the Web for a fraction of the cost of television production.  I think the more important point here is the rationale: Why do online video.  The “why” here is because of the entrenched incumbent (no pun intended) competition.  During the election cycle there is an insatiable national hunger (one that will be fully satisfied once September and October roll around and people are just ready for it to be over) for news, interviews, analysis, etc.  And the television networks have a lot of the video surrounding the thing on lockdown…until now.  Until someone with a $750 camera can swoop in and scoop them.  What’s the lesson here for non-national news brands?  If you are interested in getting into online video, first, the barriers to entry are pretty low.  And second, look at the content you might like to produce and look at the television equivalents, and then go after them, cheap, dirty, and hard.  If there are no television equivalents, you may not have a solid rationale.  If there are, you know there’s a market.

– Lesley Pinckney, director of digital development for Essence (also on the panel), calls her stable of video jockeys “preditors”: producer/editors.  Important to note here is that they are cheap and plentiful: “They’re easy to find — there are so many 20-25 year olds that know how to use a camera and Final Cut Pro.  If you go to the NYU campus, you’ll be overwhelmed by them — and they’re cost-effective, too.”

Is Paper ‘Going to Zero’ in the Next Ten Years?

February 11, 2008

Last D+P posting. Promise.

During an otherwise uneventful session, Henry Blodget, EIC of the Silicon Alley Insider and moderator, said, “the paper industry is going to zero in 10 years.”

In 2007, over 200 paper mills shut their doors. The cost of postage has risen and will continue to rise as first class and standard mail usage drops. And Internet usage will increase as more people gain high-speed access to the Web, as more Internet refuseniks retire/leave the workforce and are replaced by youth, and as more information is made available on the Web.

But, I would argue that paper is not going anywhere. You’ve probably heard many of the traditional arguments before. I won’t rehash them. Here’s my new one: Paper won’t be gone in ten years because I still want to read magazines. And books. And, yes, sometimes newspapers. What people who “get” the Internet don’t seem to understand is that their usage patterns do not represent the general populations’. Just like I don’t assume that people hate Facebook because I do (that’s right), you Henry Blodgets of the world shouldn’t assume that everyone is a dorkface who is glued to his handheld and rss feeds like you are.

In 2006, teenagers were exposed to more print publications per month than the 40+ set.

Up until last week, I read over five magazines a week. And I’m currently working my way through Orhan Pamuk’s Snow. And my iPod broke last June, and I still haven’t replaced it. And I’m not alone.

We can all admit that the Internet is the greatest, most powerful invention of the last 20 years. The mystery is, why has it spawned fanatics claiming that its presence and rise will obliterate any other forum for information? Get back to me on that one.