TH(ink) NOTE actionable research and analysis for the magazine industry The Definition of a Print and Digital Magazine September 06, 2007 There are many digital initiatives today in the magazine world: from repurposing printed material and posting online blogs to mobile phone messages and broadcasting original audio and video content. Though these attempts have varying degrees of success engaging consumers/readers they do not represent the essence of the magazine today and what it will continue to be in a digital format. By David Renard with Nick Hampshire and Bob Sacks A magazine is a very distinct unit which has the following six key properties regardless of the delivery medium used: • • • • • • Metered: a magazine is divided into defined "pages" of content that are presented together; in print this is not only bound sheets of paper but also, as has become more prevalent with the stylepress, pamphlets, lithographs or other objects; on-line these “pages” can follow a more traditional model (used by www.monkeymag.co.uk) or one of new models which includes the intuitive horizontal scrolling model (developed by www.firstride.com); Edited: the editor selects the articles and images, and on-line the videos and sounds, that fill each “page” as opposed to supplying a stream of aggregated data (news, articles, images, video) that is selected automatically by virtual intelligent agents; Designed: the included content is arranged and formated to enhance the reading and visual experience; Date-stamped: an issue is published on a specific date which becomes the indelible time stamp of the publication; Permanent: in a magazine all the content for an issue is set by its release date; even though the edited content for an issue can be more than what each reader is presented with, to allow for varying levels of customization, once it is created, it is set and can no longer be changed or corrupted apart for minor revisions; Periodic: a magazine is created to have subsequent issues and it may have more than 52 a year or, in the end, only be published once. To remain relevant as they move online, magazines will need to retain the above critical components while embracing the interconnected multimedia possibilities of the digital world. In both print and bytes, they will continue to differentiate themselves through their metering, or “pagination”, which provides a certain tempo that promotes discovery: the reader is presented with a manageable set of new articles, images and,increasingly videos and sound. Though the experience of reading a digital magazine (like those offered by vendors that include Zinio, Nxtbook, and Texterity) is mostly un-fulfilling today due to inherent limitations of carrying and reading on today's screens (e.g. computer, TV, mobile phone), these are true digital periodicals that retain the six key properties. Yet, they differ significantly from their printed cousins not only because of format and the type of content used, but also mediaIDEAS Future Outcome Key: Promising - event and timeframe likely, outcome has a 60% probability Probable - event very likely and timeframe likely, outcome has a 70% probability Expected - event and timeframe very likely, outcome has a better than 80% probability Definitions: Magazine: Metered, edited, and designed content that is intended to be periodically delivered to the reader in a format that is date-stamped and permanent. Stylepress: Unconventional, high-end boutique magazines that differ from traditional periodicals through their physicality, design, content, and focus on discreet communities. © 2006-2007 mediaIDEAS. All Rights Reserved. Please refer to Terms and Conditions of Use.