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The importance of publishing a paper magazine online

Luca Filigheddu

There are still some people out there who remain to be convinced of the merits of publishing a paper magazine online. Ironically enough, these are often the people who could benefit most from publishing a paper magazine online.


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Niche publications, particularly those which cater to older demographics can feel hesitant about making the jump to online publication in case it alienates their existing readership. Those people should, however, look at the broader trends relating to the digital and analogue worlds.

In the UK, for example, analogue TV was switched off completely and forever in 2012, and it is widely anticipated that digital radio will take over completely from FM in the next couple of years.

Older demographics have adapted to these changes in the same way as they have adapted to smartphones and tablets. They may have taken a little longer to do so than the younger generation, but there is now a sizeable percentage of “silver surfers”, who are happy to consume digital content.

Publishing a paper magazine online is the first step towards converting your paper subscribers to digital ones and thereby saving yourself the expense and hassle of printing and distribution. Here are four reasons why you should think very seriously about publishing a paper magazine online.

Distribution Becomes Massively Easier

While printing costs are often cited as a reason to move to digital and saving yourself these can certainly bring a welcome boost to your bottom line, arguably the key benefit is the fact that it massively simplifies distribution as well as removing the need to deal with subscribers whose magazines have failed to arrive.

Instead of having to deal with getting your latest edition out to retailers and/or subscribers’ homes in time for its official release date (but not too early), you just hit the upload button when you’re ready and push a notification out to people on your e-mail list.

You Can Tap into the Mobile Market

While it’s probably a bit too early to start predicting the demise of the standard Windows PC (or its Apple counterpart), it’s highly likely that it is going to start retreating back into the corporate world and find that it has a smaller and smaller footprint in the private one.

Tablets are already coming close to having the sort of power which once required a “proper” computer and the use of styluses and, particularly, attachable keyboards is bringing them very close to the world of laptops, albeit ones with touchscreens and excellent battery life.

Even if, however, you think this is all too far-fetched and too far in the future to be an immediate concern, then consider this. Smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous on commuter transport and commuters, not to put too fine a point on it, are an obvious target market for bite-sized content to liven up their journey.

You Can Tap into the “Small Dwelling” Market

When thinking of this market, the first thought that probably comes to your mind is “city dwellers”, and there’s certainly a lot of truth in this. This market is, however, much wider than that. It includes young people living with their parents, young adults in share houses/student accommodation and even older people, “empty nesters”, who have downsized into a smaller property.

The common factor in all of these scenarios is that storage space is at a premium, which means that in most contexts, digital content wins out over physical content each and every time. People may keep special items in physical form, their favourite photos for example, but overall there is an increasing preference, or even need, for content in digital form because storage space for physical items is so limited.

You Can Tap into the “Micro/Spontaneous Purchases” Market

In the real world, either a magazine is delivered to a person’s door, or they have to go out and buy it in person, and the chances are that if they value a magazine enough to make a special effort to go out and buy it, they will probably have a subscription.

This means that in the real world, in all likelihood new readers will pick up a magazine as part of a general shopping trip, which is why real-world publishers fight so hard for prime display space and may even go as far as undertaking joint promotions with retail outlets to ensure that their publication has the best chance of being picked up by a casual shopper.

In the digital world, a potential customer can browse the net, see a magazine they like, buy it and start reading it all in a few short clicks.

Surely, now you understand the importance of creating a digital magazine!

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