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Media Intelligence : 2008 Intelligence
digital magazines preserves the browsing qualities of a traditional magazine format, but with added extras such as click-throughs and rich media content. “Digital technology over the top of print. That’s really our philosophy,”says Richard Lindley, CEO of interactive online publishing specialists Realview Technologies. “We start with the print publication and then we can add fl ash, ads, audio, video – whatever.” The cost incentives are also “ obvious. Print and distribution incurs fairly high cost for a physical publication. The expense is far lower to produce a digital edition. “The other advantage,”says Lindley, “is that if you have timely information, then you can get the information out much quicker. You don’t have to wait for it to be printed and posted. It is available online as soon as it has been produced, and it transcends geographical limitations.” Gaye Murray, publisher of Hardie Grant’s Bride portfolio, is enthusiastic about the potential of digital magazines, saying that while the numbers aren’t huge just yet, digital editions are adding value to the brand. “For us it is a way of extending sales and extending the visibility of the brand. From an advertisers perspective, it gives them another touchpoint,”she says. “Within the digital edition, any web address - whether editorial or advertisement - clicks through. It means it is an easy way for readers to click straight through to the advertiser’swebsite and that is really what the advertisers like about it – those of them who are really savvy. It just gives us a bit of a point of diff erence in the marketplace – that’s how we sell it.” She also notes that far from cannibalising existing print You don’t have to wait for it to be printed and posted. It is available online as soon as it has been produced, and it transcends geographical limitations.” – Richard Lindley, Realview Technologies certain demographics, so you can tell an advertiser, ‘here are the 25-35 year olds who looked at your ad in the last week.’ You can start to get very specifi c for your target marketing.” Growth of digital magazines in the US market has accelerated in the last two to three years with four of the major suppliers – Texterity, Nxtbook, Olive Software and Zinio reporting an increase of almost 365% since 2005, and while consumer magazines are yet to fully embrace the technology, Nxtbook and Texterity both report B2B and trade publications as key growth areas. According to Nxtbook, approximately 90% of their clients are in the B2B space. “I think all of those things come back to the idea of communities of interest,”saysOMD’s Davies. “B2B is a great example of where you have lots of tightly defined communities and within that, having an opportunity to communicate more regularly with your audience, but also allowing interaction from them as well is just a huge opportunity. And in some ways it gets harder the bigger your audiences are, as it would with consumer- type titles.” readership, digital purchases are more likely to come in from international or interstate buyers where the publications aren’t available. “For us it has worked because Melbourne residents are buying the Sydney digital edition and Sydney readers are buying the Melbourne version.” Another advantage digital publications have over their print counterparts which is welcomed by publishers and clients alike, is the accountability of the medium. Everything in a digital magazine can be measured, says Lindley, and information can be captured before the reader even looks at a publication via subscription and registration systems. “Absolutely everything is tracked,”he says. “What pages are looked at, how many times a particular page was looked at, how long people spend on the page, where they clicked on the page and what they searched for.”He says that the next phase from Realview will be to introduce dynamic advertising into the online publications. “With that information, you can narrow it down to 10 MEDIA Trends + Strategy “ While the US market is much larger than Australia, Richard Lindley reports that he has already started seeing the local market starting to boom, with interest not coming just from magazine publishers, but newspapers too. Realview have been putting Cumberland Group Newspapers online for a few years now and are starting to roll out the technology for Fairfax regional newspapers, as well as Rural Press. “Some of the thinking at the moment with suburban newspapers,”he says, “is that the websites are really the focus point for the community where the news doesn’t need to constantly change, so why not put up a digital replica of the newspaper which is the news for the week, and then have more of a Web2.0 site based around the community.” As the medium starts gaining acceptance, Gaye Murray says that until the “big publishers”get on board, she doesn’t see the market growing to the same extent as the US. “I do think it will happen eventually,”she says, “[but] I personally don’t think it will ever replace a printed magazine, and I also think it suits certain categories better than others.” Lindley agrees, and says that even with technological innovations such as e-paper, and flexible electronic displays, that magazines aren’t likely to become an endangered species “I don’t think it will ever totally replace magazines,”he says. “Not all magazines are totally suited to this kind of technology. The magazine might be something you take home and put on your coff ee table – it says something about you.” “For us it is a way of extending sales and extending the visibility of the brand. From an advertisers perspective, it gives them another touchpoint.” – Gaye Murray. Hardie Grant