In just a few short weeks, the world as we know it has fundamentally shifted. Even prior to the global pandemic, magazine publishers around the world were facing a myriad of ever-increasing concerns. Some of these were addrressed in the 2017 New York Times article that discussed “The Not-So-Glossy Future of Magazines,” outlining how large magazines had lost readers and advertisers to more nimble online competitors. Others included debates around what the proper print versus digital mix is for readers.
What the general consumer may not have understood was the print industry had been enjoying a very steady and healthy increase and was predicted to reach $821 Billion by 2022. In 2018, research from Freeport Press indicated that “When it comes to our magazines, we read more, read longer and subscribe more often to print than digital.”
However, these industry trends and statistics no longer apply in this new world where the coronavirus is being said to stay active for days on surfaces. It brings a level of complexity that many in the magazine publishing industry may not have even considered.
That cannot be said for Samir Husni, also known as ‘Mr. Magazine’ himself. Samir is the director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, School of Journalism. He is also Professor and Hederman Lecturer at the School of Journalism.
Late last year, Samir was interviewing our team at InspireHUB on the work we had been completing for magazine brands using the IHUBApp Digital Experience Platform we created. We discussed the benefits being realized by our various clients around the world and what it would mean for the magazine industry including increasing reader loyalty and the community building tools that are critical to reader engagement. (We’ll provide the full list of those at the end of this article if you’re interested.)
At the time, we discussed what our team had coined as the print-digital inversion theory. Simply put, in the early days of the internet, it was only the premier magazine that could afford digital, but that has inverted to premier magazines being the ones able to provide superior print solutions.
With consumers incredibly aware of taking actions to reduce the coronavirus, the simple act of purchasing a magazine is making people think twice even by those who help to produce them.
Jennifer Pinheiro, is an Account Manager in Ontario Canada and a magazine photographer who summed up some concerns that have been voiced by others on social media. “I have loved print for as long as I can remember. The touch and feel of a finished piece, being able to carry it around with me and flip through the pages. I love the work and talent that goes into creating a printed magazine and how they are limited. The images I saw in them, over the years, inspired me to pick up a camera. I have saved issues I have helped produce, either as part of an editorial and creative time or production. I treasure issues my children have been on the cover of during their time modeling.
But today, I had to stop and really think about what it now means, the fear of a virus living on the pages of something I have found comfort in as I curl up to with a coffee and day dream. I hope this isn’t lost for good and hope one day again I can enjoy the stunning artwork and articles, but for now I will continue to go online today and instead of carrying the issue with me, I will save and screen capture what moves me."
These types of consumer concerns are driving the current coronavirus global recession. While other industries have been immediately impacted, the question is whether or not magazines should be concerned about such sentiments and what impact this could ultimately have on the magazine industry over the long term? We asked Mr. Magazine his thoughts.
“I have always said that digital introduced what I termed ‘isolated connectivity’. So, in reality we had over twenty years of practicing social-distancing. The big difference now is the first was done by choice, the second is not. As for the industry, certainly, we can anticipate a few industry trends that will likely result from the coronavirus,” explains Husni. “I won’t be surprised to see a marked increase in the individually wrapped magazine. This will be disappointing for those who have been fighting to reduce plastics. That said, there’s been a number of innovations around eco-friendly wrapping within the food market that may be adapted to help ensure the print industry continues to be able to distribute their product.
Digital publishing solutions (such as the IHUBApp) that were already important for magazines prior to this pandemic, are now absolutely critical. As social distancing increases, magazines will want to stay in touch with their audience. Using digital solutions such as the IHUBApp will allow the magazine to continue to be the trusted invited virus-free friend from a practical standpoint.
Additionally, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the community building tools within magazines become even more important. With our social interactions being significantly reduced offline, having a sense of community will be even more critical. Magazine Publishers are the perfect place to help foster connection in a trusted environment. Like-minded readers who are gathering around a particular magazine of interest have a foundation that is perfect for community building.”
If ever there was a time to bring your magazine into a digital future, it is now. Here are five reasons why your magazine should consider moving to the IHUBApp Digital Experience Platform.
- Boost distribution quickly.
"A kiosk in your pocket!"
With social distancing your magazine will stay in touch with your audience and the magazine will continue to be the trusted invited virus-free friend. The IHUBapp digital experience platform (DXP) employs progressive web app (PWA) technology and intelligent design to immediately respond to the hardware of your readers. Our text-to-download feature allows readers the ability to instantly interact with your content in a fraction of the time.
- Increase reader loyalty.
“My magazine. My way."
Hyper-personalization has been shown to boost loyalty. The award-winning IHUBApp comes with a proprietary channel subscription system that allows your readers to subscribe to specific topics and instantly be notified via text, push, desktop or email when their content is ready.
- Build community instantly.
“Community driven content delivers results!"
Leverage the power of the IHUBApp's community building tools that are ready to engage your readers. Generate comments, collect likes, promote and sell tickets to events, compile results from polls, highlight reader user profiles, promote community needs, engage in live industry events and more!
- Grow your revenue.
"Data rules the sales world."
You can easily target groups that may not be able to be reached through traditional print then you can supercharge this by using the behavioral user data collected through the IHUBApp to sell more advertising.
- Secure your future.
"Owning data will determine your future success."
The IHUBApp Digital Experience Platform is a closed-circuit system that allows you to own all your data, which is a powerful advantage over your competition. We help you keep that data safe through our partner Cyber.SC who regularly performs audits on our platform and gives you a peace of mind not available on open-source platforms.
InspireHUB is here to help take your magazine into an engaged future. Contact us today about how we can help you and your readers!
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Critics have challenged this notion for years, claiming that a remote team cannot possibly be as close as a team that physically works together. Yet we are living proof that physical proximity is not what determines close relationships, innovation, or success.
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From this unique vantage point, we decided to share the internal guidelines and tips that have helped us become high-performers and produce at the award-winning level with the hopes of you making the most of the situation. Read more now...