Monday, July 07, 2008

Digital magazine editions are gaining ground, particularly for b-to-b magazines

Publishing of digital editions of magazines -- largely in business-to-business titles, but also for some niche consumer titles -- is jumping into the mainstream, according to an article published by the U.S. trade magazine Publishing Executive. Publishers are looking not only to save on printing and distribution costs, but to expand their audiences. And there are lots of companies competing to help them.

The article refers to a study released in May by The Gilbane Group of Cambridge, Massachusets. Digital Magazine and Newspaper Editions: Growth, Trends, and Best Practices says that digital editions of business-to-business publications increased by more than 300 percent between 2005 and 2007 and consumer digital editions increased by more than 200 percent. The 130 page report, containing 22 case studies, can be downloaded here.

Among the interesting data in the Gilbane report is the fact that digital subscriptions of b-to-b magazines have grown to 15% of circulation, digital subs to consumer magazine have actually declined to 1.4%.

The Publishing Executive article points out that printing companies are looking at digital distribution as a service to their clients. As examples, it cites Brown Printing Co.—one of the nation’s largest magazine printers— which announced that it would partner with iMirus Digital Solutions, the e-edition division owned by parent company Riggs Heinrich Media Inc. Wenner Media contracted Bondi Digital Publishing to convert Rolling Stone’s entire printed history into digital format and republish it as a searchable DVD, “Rolling Stone Cover-to-Cover: The First 40 Years.”

The publisher of Recycling Today worked with Advanced Publishing Corp. to create an e-edition.
“We are extending an existing North American title into a global market position,” explains James R. Keefe, executive vice president and group publisher, GIE Media, which publishes Recycling Today. “The launch of the new product, which is different from a content perspective, was easier to achieve in an electronic format, as delivery to a reader base around the world is more reliable and immediate. Therefore, the distribution issue becomes much easier to solve. As well, the platform we selected allows a lot of powerful multimedia and interactive applications.”

The monthly, controlled-circulation title already has 30,000 subscribers, but with reader feedback already very positive, Keefe expects continued circulation growth.
The article lists some data and contact information for the digitization services being offered by 20 companies including well-known digital brands such Texterity, Zinio, PageSuite and Nxtbook Media.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

These editions are a cheap way for publishers to get some additional ad revenue, and a convenience for readers.

But they are cumbersome to use and will be superseded by online editions with exclusive content that complements print editions.

Surveys by Zinio and other companies in the biz show readers like digital editions, but don't ask respondents to rate them compared to online magazines.

1:15 pm  

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