And of course conventional wisdom has it that everything is going to the Web. Well, that last isn't true. For reasons I'll cover in a later post.
Many, many magazines aren't going to be able to survive on the Web, for two reasons. First, as more advertising venues appear, the money is going to get thin in many places. Advertisers are cutting back and will continue to reduce spending over the next couple of years, and there won't be enough ad money to support everyone.
The magazines will last longer because of the print-cost savings, but you'll see mergers, bankruptcies, and overnight disappearances of print-gone-Web magazines as those advertising dollars shrink.
Second, magazines won't retain their readership after moving to the Web. Why not? For the same reason they've been losing readers in print: reduced quality. Readers are in the habit of expecting something extra online, or at least quality, and in the cost-saving mode of moving to the Web magazines are not going to increase content quality. I don't think a majority are prepared to accept the Web as the sole source; we've been conditioned to think of anything on the Web as "rightfully" free, and a magazine Web site with no magazine ... ?
What happens after that? I have some ideas ...
Copyright © 2008, Michael A. Banks