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Traditional goes digital

December 11, 2012

Magazines and newspapers are making news. They’re adapting to new formats, struggling to grow readership and trying to grab headlines and ad dollars as they’re doing it. Some recent coverage is indicative of the variety of news coming out of the news industry.

Magazines have been trying to make the most of digital apps (Advertising Age, 11.30.12).

  • To bundle or not to bundle? To charge more or to reward print subscribers?
  • Time Inc. gives print subscribers “All Access.” Hearst and Conde Nast sell app subscriptions separately. The Economist has stopped bundling app access with new print subscriptions, charging more to those who want both.
  • Of course legacy print publications have to satisfy both print subscribers and those who only need/want digital access to content. So much trial and error going on.
  • The winners might be those print subscribers who nabbed total access right away for free and will be grandfathered in.

And then there’s “Digital Magazines as a Service.”  PandoDaily calls it the “age of premium micropublishing” (PandoDaily, 12.3.12).

  • The Periodical Co. is taking a less is more approach, with immediate publishing options to multiple platforms.  The site reads, ““Digital doesn’t need to mean multimedia. Digital can free us to simply enjoy text, beautifully.”
  • It won’t make anyone any money, but it sounds like the inevitable next step away from print magazines slapped into PDF format and up from Twitter and blogging.

BuzzFeed is an online content success story, but how will they cover business (Advertising Age, 12.4.12)?

  • They currently cover areas such as politics, tech and lifestyle with speed and exploding readership.  But they talk about moving in a deliberate way and being careful to get it right before proceeding. Not the case with a lot of publishing.

Metro is using “responsive design” (Econsultancy, 12.10.12) to ramp up mobile. They are following the BBC and USA Today in focusing site design on mobile translation.

It’s not just the design that’s different in print and online. It’s the content as well (Poynter., 12.10.12).

  • Researchers from the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication studied how stories played in the print and online editions and found vastly different stories. Online editions played up crime news and sports, while print provided more government, politics and education coverage.  And while there is a perceived infinite online space compared to shrinking print pages, the Star Tribune’s print edition over the time period covered had three times the word count of its digital edition.
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