‘Digital magazines’ get an official new name – ‘electronic editions’

In a Folio: report about actions of a recent board meeting of the media auditing organization, BPA Worldwide*, Bill Mickey notes BPA has started referring to “digital magazines” as “electronic editions.”


“The term ‘digital’ has been ditched, according to the new rules. Instead, ‘electronic’ will now be used when referring to electronic editions of magazines. ‘There are a number of definitions for the word ‘digital’ in a media owner’s portfolio, including: digital magazines, websites and email newsletter products,’ says Hansen. ‘To eliminate this confusion, the BPA Board voted to change ‘digital’ to ‘electronic edition’ throughout the rule book when referring to electronic version of print publications and magazines.'”

Personal observation: Thank you. I’ve never liked the term “digital magazine.” In the past, I’ve used the term “digitial version of a magazine” in an attempt to clarify my belief that once a magazine is converted into an electronic file, it becomes a new form of media that should be treated — and described — as such.

However, I recognize that the names we hang on new media often use metaphors related to previous media. “Moving pictures” was the first term applied to film (and the folks who hand out Oscars still use the term “motion picture”). And radio was first called “wireless telegraphy.” When the market catches up with the concept, a better term comes along.

I’m going to follow the BPA’s lead and start using the term “electronic edition” whenever referring to the versions of magazines and books that have the potential of carrying “moving pictures” and that must be viewed on a computer or other electronic device.

*Disclosure: Hammock Inc. is a “member publisher” of BPA.