Markoos, in his comment to an earlier post I made, got me thinking about magazines in the age of the web, and now, Web 2·0.
I had wondered about this myself. In 2000, when I discussed doing Lucire as a print title, the prevailing pre-internet-bust wisdom was that print was a retrograde step. In 2006, with the print magazine on an upward trend, there seems to be enough of a market for it.
Web sites have not replaced all print media, but where have they reached in most? Answer: disposable media. Newspapers and magazines which we do not covet, but throw away after a very short time. Hence, some newspapers this year decided to make an edition some would buy, not because they needed it, but because they were made to think it was special beyond the other daily editions. They did so with cartoons of Mohammed, not in the service of journalism or the public, but in the interest of sales.
In an age of environmental consciousness, why waste all that paper if we can recycle electrons instead, especially for media which we would never covet? Get the information like a Vulcan mind-meld, and move on to the next site.
My belief is that magazines need to bridge the gap between everyday media and the coffee-table book. Marcello Grand, when he began Black & White (a photography magazine whose early editions, at least in my memory, had an awful lot of nudity), bridged that—mainstream titillation with artistic merit. With The Robb Report wanting to ﬁnd a new home after so many successes, there is clearly a —niche for the premium magazine (which was the purpose of my post).
However, niches are just that: niches. When ﬁlled, you had better ﬁnd another means of differentiation or positioning, two of branding’s tasks. My view has been that Lucire must reﬂect a sense of covetousness, so people would buy it as an indulgence, a magazine which they would keep. It needs to look good on coffee-tables but be more affordable than an art book. (Fairfax’s Cuisine does this successfully.) Yet positioning it in a too-rich niche would be silly, because you would never reach a mainstream audience. Hence, Lucire has to cover affordable things, too, so it builds afﬁnity—another branding task—and deliver what I say is necessary in the mid-2000s: attainable luxury.
This is a trend with so many premium brands, anyway: BMW 1-series, Emporio Armani, and the like. And mainstream is trying to be premium: to wit, the Volkswagen Golf. Yet few seem to cover this segment. Vogue tries, and probably succeeds because it is Vogue and its brand has created habits for so many over 116 years. But the approach I take, to me, makes sense. Since I was born on the day Condé Nast died, I like to think my approach may well be the right one in this sector for this century.
Del.icio.us tags: magazine media Lucire Vogue positioning brand disposable media mainstream premium attainable luxury market niche marketing marketing branding newspaper Posted by Jack Yan, 00:04
Do you have subscribers in the states? I want a subscription :).
Hi Randy: we do for the print title, but not as many as here in New Zealand, because overseas postage is a killer. The magazines aren’t expensive—around $6 of your dollars—but by the time we add on postage, they’re over US$20 each. Here’s a subscription link (ignore the warning box that comes up). I hope we can launch a US edition soon—we have some plans, but we’re open to suggestions and contacts.
Jack, is there anyway to digitize the publication for subscription download?
Hi Randy: for a while a company we collaborated with on a US edition did get us into Zinio but as far as I know, they have not received the last few issues. Maybe we can arrange for something off-list? We do have the entire magazine as a low-resolution PDF that we give to our staff if that interests you.
I'm probably the only person who got confused by the fact that this blog wasn't talking about Disposable Media, the online PDF magazine, that just released it's fourht issue.
# posted by Anonymous: 5/18/2006 01:48:00 PM
Quite a coincidence—I imagine it shows that the term has passed into the vernacular.Post a Comment
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