Magazines Campaign ‘The Power of Print’

This course module looks at the effects of mass media on our everyday lives, how we personally consume media, and provides an introduction to visual communications. In last week’s Moodle session we briefly chatted about print versus online media. Some spoke to the convenience of reading on their mobile devices while others, like myself, still preferred the traditional, page turning, magazine or novel. So, while I use online media on a daily basis it will never replace my love of a magazine or novel. Nor will it ever replace going to the movies or theatre or watching a live concert. 42679-hi-Ad1

The Association of Magazine Media (MPA) launched an impressive campaign in 2010 to highlight magazine advertising. The campaign, called “Magazines, The Power of Print”, seeks to dispel the myth that the magazine business is a dying industry; that magazine advertising continues to be valued for its outstanding recall and cultural impact. The campaign launched in April with ads in nearly 100 magazines, reaching 112 million readers per month. The campaign promotes not just the enduring strengths of the medium but also spotlights consumer commitment to magazines.

In a press release issued by MPA the association stresses the importance of the Power of Print campaign. It says, “The campaign targets advertisers, shareholders and industry influencers, and seeks to reshape the broader conversation about magazines, challenge misperceptions about the medium’s relevancy and longevity, and reinforce magazines’ important cultural role.” Given our discussions about media and how it shapes us personally, professionally, and culturally, I think this particular quote emphasizes the importance of recognizing that media such as print cannot simply be replaced by interactive technologies. People continue to rely on print publications to provide them with the latest news. Whether the “news” is today’s stock prices or how to defy your age through skin care, statistics show that consumers depend on magazines and newspapers to get their news.

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Recently, the MPA conducted a social media study to explore the impact of social media among traditional print and digital magazine readers (age 18-34) who are social media users. Their key finding: social media is enhancing magazine reading among 18-34 year olds.

  • 56% of total Twitter users and 65% of avid readers ‘follow’ a magazine editor or columnist on Twitter.
  • 51% of respondents have re-tweeted to a magazine editor’s Twitter and 42% chat with friends on Facebook while reading a magazine and share what they’re reading.

The Association doesn’t ignore the fact that avid magazine readers are also using social media rather, they engage with readers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Readers are connecting directly with magazines, editors and columnists on social media. They’re sharing, re-tweeting and expressing their views. The MPA stands by their claim that the Internet will not destroy magazine advertising or readership. Here’s a link to a video that the MPA included in their campaign. It provides some insight and analysis on print advertising in today’s online world: The Power of Magazines. What rang true to me the most: “People find room in their lives for the new media alongside the media they already love.” Charles Townsend, President and CEO of Conde Naste, continues to say, “As long as those media continue to evolve and provide an irreplaceable value.” I encourage you to watch the video and look forward to your feedback.

References

The Association of Magazine Media. Retrieved March 29, 2014 from http://www.magazine.org/.

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8 comments

  1. I recall this campaign and thought they totally nailed it! I am a major magazine addict, and avid social media user as well. I agree that people can make room for all kinds of media in their lives – old and new. I “like” many magazines on Facebook (more than I have on my nightstand), and I’d say I share their posts more than posts from any other page or from my friends.

    As a past editor of Western University’s Alumni Gazette (three issues/year), I can tell you that the print magazine is alive and well. When we put one edition entirely online to save print costs, there was an uproar! And even now, only one issue of the Gazette is mailed to all of our alumni, and we’ve been pushed by our alumni to mail all three issues to all alumni. They miss it in their mail boxes, which is great!

    If you look at newspapers, I believe the same rings true. I “like” many papers on Facebook, and it’s how I get immediate, breaking news of the day. But if I want the story, give me the print version please.

  2. I’m a total magazine addict too and I agree that although I follow magazines on Twitter and Facebook there’s just something hugely satisfying about sitting down with a coffee and a magazine, newspaper or good book. Personally, that feeling cannot be replaced with a Kindle or iPad. Also, thanks for sharing your experience at Western; a true testament that the magazine is still alive and well.

  3. I fear I might be alone on this, but I love the smell when you open a really old library book! I also find great difficulty in doing a lot of reading on a computer screen, not because of poor vision but rather it seems less “real” than, for example, holding a tangible journal article with highlighter on-hand.
    “The MPA stands by their claim that the Internet will not destroy magazine advertising or readership.” I got the sense that this study very much includes online readership of magazines when assessing whether it will remain a striving medium. I don’t think social media could ever entirely satisfy a reader’s appetite for news, features and stories. Magazines and full-length exposes should definitely continue to hold their ground as social media grows, however, I think more and more readers will prefer the online version to the print. Eventually, I can see future generations growing up with very little exposure to books, a tablet for each student containing all of their curriculum material could be less expensive than supplying a number of books throughout his/her academic career.

  4. This is an interesting post Krista! I just recently upgraded to an iPad (previously I had an older Samsung tablet…) Prior to the iPad, I would have argued that the physical magazine subscription was my preference as well. I have only a couple subscriptions but there was something special when they arrived in the mail (almost like an unexpected present each month). Maybe until they pile up in the living room! However, my experience with converting to digital subscriptions on an iPad has been pretty impressive (and way less clutter obviously). I have also been traveling a lot for work lately so having various editions all available while traveling has been pretty efficient.

    But as we progress into a fully electronic age one wonders about how we will properly curate these digital documents long term. Will we simply lose intellectual property over time as it gets deleted from our collective hard drives?

    Lastly, one of the key selling features of print media I have heard from every salesperson since I entered into the Marketing/Communications world has been the opportunities for a single edition to read by multiple readers (think doctors’ waiting rooms). Unless tablets will be handed out, I think the “share-ability” of magazines and books is a key benefit. Content is often more “share-able” in these formats versus the stricter restrictions on sharing digital content.

  5. I think you’ve both raised some interesting points. When writing the post I couldn’t help but think about the future – how 5 or 10 years from now magazines or novels might be archaic. People might collect them like they do vinyl records. I dread the thought, but I suspect that might be what’s to come. Working in education I already see many students learning on tablets, and it’s proven to be especially useful for students with learning disabilities. Matt, I think the “share-ability” aspect of magazines and books is definitely a benefit, especially for advertisers. Because I love to get my subscriptions in the mail each month I haven’t yet downloaded any magazines to my iPad, but I can see how that would be convenient when travelling. I believe one of our classmates said the same thing about books. I’m just not sure I’d be able to read a full-length novel from a screen, and (call me old fashioned too, Kristie) there’s just something special about a paperback.

  6. I too share a passion for magazines. Probably something that is true for most of us in this course. I think the content produced by magazines has a tremendous life online but suggesting the advertiser-supported print model is sustainable is probably wishful thinking.

    I recently started using the App “Next Issue” which offers digital access to a lot of my favourite magazines (New Yorker, Fast Company, Vanity Fair, Wired, Canadian Business etc.). Think of it as the Netflix of magazines. So for the cost of 2 or 3 magazines I have access to more than one hundred publications.

    But the experience is not the same. I kind of miss my print versions (even though some, like Wired, offer some great multimedia content). It makes me think that print magazines will become like vinyl records – something that becomes a fetish item based on emotion. We will obsess over inks, paper stock, binding etc. in the same ways record nerds obsess over album sleeves and the vinyl weighting….

  7. Some great opinions and views here. I liken it to any new technology introduced and ask the question, “does this replace something or augment my toolkit”? For example, law enforcement went to TASERS (Electronic Control Devices), police certainly didn’t give up carrying their lethal firearms.

    Today, some police departments are forgoing dealing with the traditional media and instead have made the conscious decision to use social media only. This will backfire on these departments eventually … social media is not a replacement for traditional media relations, it’s an additional tool for the toolbox.

  8. Hi Krista,

    Great post and some great feedback! I have to say that, as long as “airplane mode” is a requirement for technological devices during air travel, there will be a demand for magazines. Or at least I sure hope so, because reading a magazine is a cherished part of every travel experience for me. I think that, as long as these magazines are staying ahead of what their viewership wants in terms of specialized topics, etc., we will be able to hang on to this form of media for at least a little while longer. Most magazine subscriptions today seem to come with a free online subscription, but I have to tell you that I get cranky when my online edition arrives and my paper copy doesn’t. You can curl up with your tablet, but it just doesn’t feel the same. There’s simply no rush of adrenaline, without the risk of a paper cut.

    Erin

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