Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Print and Online Work Together, Not Apart

In an OMMA article, Bob Carrigan makes the point that online sites of magazines are not and should not be just a repurposing of the offline content. I can't agree more.

He details how online counterparts to offline magazines should offer more than what is in print, and the best examples of sites that have succeeded end up looking little like their print parent.

The article is aimed at marketers having to evaluate publishers to advertise with (and Bob recommends going with those that have recognized the value of adding to the experience through their site, since those will be the ones that survive and thrive). However, I think his points also help validate my long-standing thoughts that traditional print (along with other traditional media like TV and radio) will ultimately become more of a driver to online than destinations themselves.

With the flexibility of display (video, audio, graphics) and especially the ability to connect and interact, the web (or some evolved cousin of the web we know and love today) will be the destination. This is already happening in several ways (way too many to mention here), but a good example is The Apprentice or some similar show. I'm a big fan of the show (hey, don't judge me) and I LOVE the fact that you can get uncut footage of some of the boardroom battles. I knew for several seaons that they must've edited the hell out of those things and it's just great that you can now get more online. This speaks to another great thing about online. It's not someone choosing for you what you get to see (well, to a certain extent, but bear with me), it allows you to self-select what you want to see more of and then you get to delve deeper.

With magazines the options are even greater. Instead of getting a little (like say, 3 pages and two photos) about a subject, you can go online and get a link to a video or more photos, or links to even more photos, or links to related articles, demos, tools you can use, and most of all, the ability to interact with the writers, editors and fellow readers, to truly get the most out of what you're looking for. The sky's the limit. And marketing online is likewise limitless.

[As an aside, I also believe that online presents a very strong ability for strong magazine brands to expand into the world of broadcast/video by experimentally floating out content to see what hits and what doesn't at a far lower cost and risk than trying to make a mega-deal with a network or cable channel.]

Anyway, as you can tell, I can go on and on, but I'll finish up here. Just mark my words, in the near future, the Internet is going to be media and all other current media will just drive people there.


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