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Media Intelligence : 2008 Intelligence
digital magazines It’s back to the future as publishers start to take another look at digital magazines. After a couple of false starts, the technology has matured to become cost eff ective and easy to use. Prue Corlette investigates. that a mainstream publisher decided to test the market, with Pacifi c Magazines launching Red Zero in August 2006. The launch, in conjunction with advertising partner Target, was hailed as the way forward for magazine publishers struggling in an increasingly fragmented market, but Red Zero didn’t bring on board anticipated subscriber numbers and this, combined with its sluggish pace – publishing every three months – saw the magazine close in February this year. Pacifi c Magazines CEO Nick Chan said that despite the groundbreaking nature of the publication, it wasn’t doing what it needed to, and that the money could be better spent elsewhere. Simon Davies, head of print at OMD says that Red Zero was really pushing into new territory, as the space is dominated by smaller, niche publications. “To go into that more mainstream type approach was quite a brave move and certainly something we supported as a result of that,”he says, “although there were elements that were refreshed more regularly, it was something that came out quarterly T 8 MEDIA Trends + Strategy Digital Magazines – THE FUTURE THE FUTURE he fi rst purely digital fl ip-through publications hit the market about ten years ago, but the speeds were slow, and specifi c programs had to be installed to view the pages. As technology improved, more publishers began to experiment, but the medium never really got off the ground. It wasn’t until 2006 when peoples expectations of online is all related to immediacy.” B2B and specialist publishers have long been early adopters of new technologies as well as having a willingness to experiment and were quick to take the fi rst tenuous steps into digital magazines, but it soon became evident to many publishers that the online versions just weren’t hitting the mark. Geoff Hird, associate publisher at leading industrial and technology publishers Westwick-Farrow agrees that an online presence is a must for publishers. “As a media provider, if you want to cover a market – whether it is consumer or B2B, you “ B2B is a great example of where you have lots of tightly defined communities … in some ways it gets harder the bigger your audiences are, as it would with consumer-type titles.” – Simon Davies, OMD