There is a new ad campaign going on called The Power of Print. It’s supported by five major magazine companies including Hearst, Time, Wenner, Meredith and Condé Nast. It’s supposed to help revive magazine readership or more importantly remind people why magazines are important. It started back in March, 2010.
One of the ads says, “In these wired times of ours, you might think that people don’t read magazines. That the overwhelming allure of the online world has swept them right out of vogue. But it’s not true at all. From seventeen through their sunset years, folks are reading magazines more than they were just a few years ago. Sure, there’s a fortune being spent online. But there’s also a lot of money being spent on magazines, with nearly 300 million paid subscriptions.”
After reading that, I thought, hmm … if there are 300 million paid subscriptions, then why strive for a larger readership? I mean, that seems like plenty of readers to me. But it’s not. It’s not even close. Magazines need to make serious buku to stay afloat. So how do they do it?
Tons of magazines are alive today because they sell ad space. They are able to sell ad space because people buy subscriptions. Subscriptions are important because advertisers put their ads in magazines that are getting seen by thousands or millions of consumers. Why is this important to advertisers? Because they make money by getting you–the consumer, to buy things. And why do you buy the things you do? Believe it or not, it’s because of advertising. Just look at the iPhone.
Everything is linked. Advertising is big business. Unfortunately, many magazines nowadays need those advertisers in order to publish a monthly magazine. The magazine industry isn’t just about reporting real human interest stories anymore, it’s a money making endeavor.
Here is another ad from the Power of Print Campaign:
It says, “Young people do everything online. Like order millions of magazines. Somehow, amidst their infatuation with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like, young adults are still making time for another one of their favorite pursuits: reading magazines.
Contrary to popular misperception, the phenomenal popularity of the Internet has not come at the expense of magazines. Readership is actually increasing, and adults between 18 and 34 are among the most dedicated readers. They equal or surpass their over-34 counterparts in issues read per month and time spent per issue.
What’s changed isn’t people’s affinity for magazines but the means by which they acquire them. Last year, nearly 22 percent of all new paid subscriptions were ordered online.
And just as the Internet drives magazine subscriptions, magazines drive Web searches–with nearly double the effectiveness of the Internet itself. Some might call it ironic.
The medium that some predicted would vanquish magazines is actually helping fuel their growth. And vice versa.”
Okay, so why put all this time and energy into an ad campaign telling people what they already know? Well, because you have to read between the lines here folks. Magazines are losing serious dollars. They don’t have the money to sustain the cost of hiring a staff, printing and distributing anymore. The more I think about this campaign, the more I think it’s a warning. Magazines are going to die unless you and I start supporting them by buying them.
Now, I don’t believe magazines will become extinct or that paper will become a thing of the past, but it’s apparent that we are witnessing big changes within the publishing industry. People aren’t just getting their news and entertainment from magazines, newspapers and television. They are getting it online.
According to the Facebook Blog, five-hundred million people have signed up for Facebook as of July 21, 2010. This time last year, there were 150 million users says independent.co.uk. What does this mean? It means that social networking sites are big time, too large to ignore that they are changing not only what we view as entertainment, but also the way we receive our news. Our friends post interesting stories on Facebook and we snatch them up and re-post them on our wall to share with our friends. The best part about that is that it’s free. And free is important here because America is on a budget. Now how do you combat free? You can’t.
I think the major contributors to the Power of Print ad campaign need to take a step back and think. This isn’t your typical us versus them situation. The only way people are going to read the way they used to, back in the olden days, is if publishers provide readers with old school news and big time value in new mediums. That means online, through their cell phones, their Ipads, Kindles and Nooks and on whatever latest electronic device is coming soon to a store near you.
Look, people want to read the good stuff. They want to read stories that are interesting, ones that have depth, ones that are well thought-out and those that dig below the surface. They want real news that is reported in a new and fresh way. The publishing industry can have all of that and more if they just surrender to the change. They only have one real option–to embrace the electronic evolution. Truth is, it’s going to happen whether the publishing industry agrees or not.
Magazines ought to do what the newspapers do. Just put some information online and charge online subscription fees at a fraction of the cost of a traditional subscription. Why? For one, it is cheaper for both the subscriber and publisher and it would be available to a larger audience. Where is the downfall?
I don’t suggest the total removal the traditional printed magazines just yet, but maybe publishers should focus on online forums and reduce the amount of printed mags they produce. This would create less environmental waste for everybody and who doesn’t want that?
Maybe McLuhan was right. The medium is the message.
What do you think about the Power of Print ad campaign? Check it out for yourself here.