At the recent PPA Independent Publisher Conference, Juan Señor gave a superb talk, the main thrust of which was that we should all be charging for our content. There is no instant digital salvation. Unless you get people to pay for your content – whether print or digital – you have no future. Put your content behind a wall – pay or registration – and demand dollars or data for the privilege of viewing it.
He also touched briefly on the subject of print. Is it dead? “No, poppycock”, he said, before quickly adding, “it depends on your business model”.
“If it were dead”, he went on, “then why would Facebook launch a print magazine?”
The future of print is investing in it, not running it down through thinner paper, fewer issues, lower paginations and low-grade content.
Premium content at premium prices is what it’s all about.
No one has ever questioned the singular pleasure of reading in print, but it’s got to be the right stuff. Look at the book market – sales of Kindles and e-readers have plateaued; yes, there’s still a market for them, but the majority of people who read books choose to read them in print.
Lots of content work better in digital, but not all. Long form beautifully presented articles by the most brilliant writers, work wonderfully well in print. As does exclusive must-read and can’t-find-elsewhere content – look at Private Eye, still riding high at the newsstand. With print, it’s not the medium that’s the challenge, it’s what you put on it.
(Finally, as I might have mentioned, we held our first roundtable in September. You will find a full write-up in our Nov/Dec issue – register here to join our mailing list – and you can see a short video of proceedings here.)