Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Synchronized Cardioversion is print media's only chance

I just watched an interesting video posted on Mitch Joel's blog under the post "Print is Not Dead". The video is an attempt by some print magazine people to convince the rest of us that print magazines will still be around. Will they? 5 years from now? 10 years from now? I'm betting on no.

This video is exactly the problem with the current print industry. They are still in denial. And why wouldn't they be? It is not an easy to think about a technology killing another - especially when one works in the technology on the receiving end. Besides, what else could they have said? "Yes we are facing some challenges, but we are working on revolutionizing our model?" Yes that will work well for the advertising bottom line.

I absolutely agree with Mitch about the false thinking that Twitter or Facebook are challengers to print magazines. Those are not the technologies that will replace print. I'm surprised they didn't even mention mobile devices? The iPad? any other tablet? hello? However I disagree with the title.

On another blog, linked on Joel's. I read the following comment by "Jen":
If this story is best told in print, why are they telling it on a YouTube video?
Absolutely! Why? These print executive big wigs ought to reply.

So, why will print die? And by print I mean almost all variations of print media. National newspapers, books, national magazines, etc. I say national, because I still see some room for the local, neighborhood type of magazine/newspaper. Those serve the immediate community around them will still have a niche to fill.

  1. Its not portable. Yes, yes I can carry it in my bag man-purse but I have to remember to take it with me of course, and I have to pick up the right one that had the article that I wanted to read on the train. So, it is not portable.
  2. Its not searchable. You just can't do it with print. Gutenberg did not envision this when he started building the printing press. Way back then, the problem was copying and distributing books, not indexing them since there was no need for that. Unfortunately, these magazine executives are still stuck in the Gutenberg era.
  3. I can't share it, I can't tweet it, I can't start a public discussion about it. I can't refer to it later. So I read an article in the latest Times. How do I share it? Well I can lend the magazine out. My dad used to cut out the articles he was interested in and would stick them in his own 1980s version of InstaPaper i.e. a filing cabinet living room floor. But then back to number (2), he couldn't search it, but he did however have an indexing system; that he only knew how to use. My dad would then photocopy that snippet and share it with whoever. Times have changed, and today's technologies simply do what generations before us have done; but better. I'm sure 10 years from now my beloved iPhone and InstaPaper will be prehistoric, so why is it hard to say that print is prehistoric? Its been around for hundreds of years.
  4. Its not interactive. This is probably one of the things I have seen the print industry pay attention to. CBS apparently ran an video ad in a magazine in fall of 2009, and Esquire has an augmented reality edition of their magazine. I don't know how well these were received, did it work? well they do it again? who knows? But we know they tried to bring interactive material to a magazine. If you can say it with an interactive video then why just say it in words or pictures?
  5. It doesn't know who I am. The last two points are close to me. I am an evangelist for personalized and location aware anything. I would be in fact very disappointed with technology if these two points don't become as main stream as a coffee lineup at Tim Hortons in 20 years. Serving ads blindly is retarded, just like crossing the street blind-folded is retarded. But, if you are being chased by Michael Myers downtown Toronto and you happen to be blind-folded and can't take them off, then sure I guess you have to cross the street blind. This is the state of print advertisement. I'm sure careful consideration is taken to match ads with content, but there is so much you can do when you know very little about who is actually reading.
  6. It doesn't know where I am. This is an even bigger point with me. However, this one is not that far off from being realized - I think. The iPad whether it flops or succeeds will give this market the synchronized cardioversion it has been asking for. The ads will target me based on where I am. Advertisers will push their content to my device, and I will only see it if it matches certain criteria about me, my current location, or perhaps whereabouts, the time of day, weather, where I have been going, etc. In the crazy world between my ears I am able to subscribe to content I willingly publish on the Twitters, Facebooks, Foursquares, Flickrs, blog, etc. and present me with ads that match what I publish. If Foursquare shows I am bouncing between Cooksville and Union Station every day, maybe I'll see a Go Train ad when I'm reading an NYT article on an iPad? Or maybe when my kid loses their new cell phone and I go Kunfu Panda on Twitter I see an ad for someone selling the same phone on Kijiji - with the same serial number; then I'll see an ad for a new set of butcher knives on sale.

1 comment:

  1. That would be my kid losing her cell phone (remember, you have none....yet).

    Good points. You left one out though - and it's a big one - print leaves your fingerprints black. Then you scratch your nose and it's black. Then you look like an idiot all the way from the GO station to Cooksville.