The future of magazines

In my sidebar blog (if you’re reading this in a browser, scroll down on the right column or if you’re reading this via RSS, it’s here), I’ve been linking to a few stories appearing about Time’s announcement regarding a new advertising rate model that will offer advertisers the option of choosing a traditional (yet lowered) ratebase of the print magazine’s circulation or a TV-like rate base model that will take into consideration an audience size that includes print/online. Jeff Jarvis just blogged the topic and I’ll add my “what he said” to most of his points:


“I think that general-interest magazines may well be fated to fade away. General-interest anything is probably cursed. For the truth is that interest never was as general editors and publishers thought it was, back in the mass-media age. Old media just assumed we were interested in what they told us to be interested in. But we weren’t. We’re proving that with every new choice the internet enables. Yet special-interest magazines — community magazines, to put it another way — have a brighter prospect — if they understand how to enable that community.

As I’ve blogged here many times, the consumer magazine arena often claims “community” but rarely actually hosts or facilitates or even recognizes it. However, in the business-to-business media, you often find the leading publisher in a vertical will be the same company that puts on the largest seminars, conferences and conventions; collects and analyzes and packages the data; and, yes, even hosts the dominant space on the web in that category.

While B2B media companies may not “be there” yet, they are far ahead of consumer (mass) media companies in understanding community — or, as I’d refer to it in the business context — the marketplace of human beings who are buyers and human beings who are sellers.

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