Several times this week I have been involved in correspondence and conversations about QR codes and various other forms of augmented reality. The theory continuously presented to me is that print will be saved by the use of augmented reality. It is at that point I stick my feet into the ground, as I think there is nothing much further from the truth on this subject than this thought process.
I need to be clear here, as I have many friends and associates who own or work for augmented reality companies. I support the use of AR in that it is a wonderful tool and can be a bonus for any printed product for either ads or editorial. But I am not a fan of augmented reality in regards to it being used the savior of print. In that regard, it is a total red herring to print's ability to succeed or not succeed in regards to printed magazines.
Here is my reason why although it is a good tool, it isn't something that you could or would use on every page, or for any extended period in a printed magazine. When we are offered a QR code or other AR launch system in a magazine that takes us to the web, we are then forced to balance two separate devices. The web product/cell phone/tablet in one hand and a magazine in the other hand, or on your lap, or perhaps on the desk, making neither a comfortable long-term reading experience. Continually sending people from the printed magazine page to an electronic device defeats the purpose of having a good print product and the concurrent rewarding lean back experience that we are all so proud of as an industry. As the old expression goes, putting lipstick on a pig only wastes your time and annoys the pig. Although AR indeed has its valuable moments and its usefulness, AR is a distraction to the nature of our printed products. In this case it is trying to fake the electrification of the printed page. If I wanted to get online, I would have done so. If I chose to read a magazine, why send me somewhere online? Does that make sense to you? READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE
FORTUNE -- Jeff Bezos, John Henry, and Warren Buffett are not investing in dying businesses. They don't do that. They are investing in assets poised for a rebound. Despite the recent spate of media last week about the spiraling of newspapers, there are a few facts for industry pundits to consider.
Newspaper media comprised a $38.6 billion industry in 2012. While those revenues saw a 2% decline compared to 2011 revenues ($39.5 billion), we're also starting to see promising shifts in the newspaper business model: growing revenue streams across several categories -- some of which have only emerged in recent years.
Just this past year, circulation revenue rose by 5% -- from $10 billion to $10.5 billion -- as digital subscriptions grew dramatically, marking the first gain in this category for the newspaper industry since 2003. READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE
F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." I am going to try to discuss the concept of internship where I hold two opposing thoughts.
I was never an intern as I started my first publication a year or so out of high school. One could say I jumped from unemployment into the frying pan of being a publisher/owner, without the intermediate steps of a normal career, and it is fair to say, I did not do it alone, I had two other great partners to lean upon.
Wikipedia says that an "internship is a method of on-the-job training for white-collar and professional careers. Internships for professional careers are similar to apprenticeships for trade and vocational jobs. Although interns are typically college or university students, they can also be high school students or post-graduate adults. Internships may be paid or unpaid, and are usually understood to be temporary positions. Generally, an internship consists of an exchange of services for experience between the student and an organization."
There you have it. Part of the definition is that internships may be paid or unpaid, and are usually understood to be temporary positions. If that is the understood and agreed upon definition, where is all the uproar coming from of interns claiming slave wages and demanding some sort of remuneration?
There are many things that I surmise about our industry from a career spanning over forty years doing the very voodoo that we publishers do. There are other things that I do not guess at, but know from practical and specific experience. I'm not sure where the "expert" classification lines up in cases like this, but I think that I am an expert in local/hyper-local publications.
My very first publication was a local free newspaper in the Metro New York Area called The Express. My second publication was a local free magazine style publication I conceived of and produced for a local radio station (WLIR) on Long Island, NY called Free Flight. My third publication was a free local newspaper in Tucson, Arizona, called The Mountain Newsreal. After those experiences, I and some other friends and cohorts went on to start a national publication that is still on the newsstand 39 years later.
Magazines, newspapers and direct marketers are girding for the possibility that the U.S. Postal Service will pass an exigent rate increase on top of the annual postal rate that is capped by the consumer price index. The increase, made possible by a 2006 law that gives the postal service the option to raise rates in case of extreme circumstances like a terrorist attack, could be as high as 10 percent across the board.
It couldn't come at a worse time for the media and marketing industries that depend on mail service. "We're finally getting our footing back since the 2009 recession," said Mary Berner, president and CEO of the MPA, the Association for Magazine Media. Magazines, for example, spend $3 billion annually on postage. A 10 percent increase would add $300 million to an industry that is already challenged. Some magazines could go out of business, Berner warned. Others could cut back on mail delivery and redouble digital efforts. READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE
Reading the headline above may leave you thinking, "There's a solution to the magazine industry's newsstand woes? Why haven't we fixed this a long time ago?"
If only the solution was that simple. But like a tough nut, there's are many layers to the issue that must be cracked, peeled away, before the real meat is revealed and relished.
And with this article, I think we've been doing that, peeling away the layers, one at a time. All of the industry veterans quoted in this article have their own experiences and track record to back up their opinions and perspectives. We must take these, along with the thoughts and ideas of many others, and like a jigsaw puzzle piece them together so that the picture becomes clear and comprehensible.
Conde Nast has made digital publishing headlines for some time as it’s one of the first major magazine publishers to create flawless and device-optimized digital editions of its family of magazine titles using Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite. These editions, available for a variety of smartphones and tablets, also come bundled for print subscribers, but can be had as stand-alone digital subscriptions.
Generally, observers have been focusing on the sad performance of the past five-plus years, where total units are off by more than 40% and dollars by more than 30%. The New Single Copy decided to take a look at our review of the first half of 2003, ten years ago. Then, total unit sales for audited magazines were nearly 474 million copies. This year it's 250,000. That's a drop of 47.2%. Retail dollars went from more than $1.5 billion to $967 million, slipping 36.7%, and that's without any adjustment for inflation. Another point: The preliminary data for the first half of 2003 was based on 537 magazines with any single copy sales. This year the AAM reports contained only 346. Publishers seem to be making an emphatic statement about their confidence or lack of it in the retail marketplac
BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Facts on Mag Circ, IDEAlliance Response: Magazine Ad Revenues…
What is the BoSacks FREE newsletter all about?
It is purely a very "personal" and slanted collection of news gathered daily over the Internet, which to me seems relevant and useful about the publishing industry. I do this as a labor of love and to keep myself as up to date as is possible with the ever changing and advancing "Information Distribution Industry" formerly known as "Publishing".
And how much does it cost?
The price for this service is nothing. It is Free. It is just as easy for me to copy three or four of my industry friends as it is to carbon copy the current list of 16,500 publishing professionals.