“Nobody is saying print is dead anymore. You’d have to be out of your mind to say print is dead.” ~ Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni
So let’s change the mood for a while and talk about what’s not dying: print magazines.
Paul Glader of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership recently interviewed Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, and found him ensconced behind a desk piled high with new magazine titles. Yes, in Mr. Magazine’s world, print magazines are clearly alive and well.
Still, according to Husni publishers would do well to reevaluate their business model and move from “counting customers” to catering to their “customers who count.”
“[Publishers] cannot get it into their heads by now that counting customers no longer counts, that our business model has to be reinvented and we have to make as much money from customers as we make from advertisers,” Husni said to Glader in his Forbes article.
That doesn’t mean the industry is dead; far from it. In fact, we called the whole idea eye-rollingly ridiculous last year.
“If you’re working at AdWeek or if you’re working at those magazines that used to be big, thick publications, and all the advertising disappeared from them, they are now like a 36-page little tiny thing…” says Husni. “They look through that prism and they judge the entire [magazine] industry based on that. When in reality if people are willing to take the time and dig and look and stuff, we’re having almost 1,000 new magazines coming into the marketplace every year. But those magazines have an average cover price of between $8.50 and $10.50 now.”
“Last year, every major publisher in this country published a new magazine, a print magazine. Whether it’s Hearst, Conde Nast, Time Inc. or Rodale,” he notes.
And those magazines, and the plethora of bookazines being published as well, are coming out in enhanced quality, with heavier paperweight and upgraded printing to enhance the entire experience of reading a print magazine.
The business model is evolving, to be certain; Husni pulls no punches there. But dead? Please.
“Last year was actually the year we buried the phrase ‘print is dead.’ Nobody is saying ‘print is dead anymore.’ You’d have to be out of your mind to say ‘print is dead…’ And you know, you hear how phrases like ‘print is changing.’ Of course. Change is the only constant in our business. I mean, why would print not change?” Husni asks.
In a world where things fall away, 500+ years is a long time for a medium to exist. We’ve no doubt that the businesses that make its living on it will change; print magazines have a lovely and luxurious future to look forward to publishers focus on their best customers and put their audience first over their numbers.