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Changes in Information Delivery

Changes in Information Delivery

August 18, 2006
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Since most of us are publishers in one way or another, the evolving means of publication are always of concern. This should be quite obvious since without the Internet – perhaps the greatest advancement in publishing since moveable type – many of us would not now be “publishers.”

In this regard, a frequent question has been “is the Internet killing print publication?” Only a few years ago, the answer might have been a quick yes: but today, I’m not so sure.

I’ve been noticing a trend lately among some of my favorite publications and have been considering the broader implications (if any). In the online adult entertainment space, I’ve noticed the page count of XBIZ World Magazine steadily increasing at almost the same rate as the page count of rival publication AVN Online is decreasing. This can easily be attributed to competitive influences throughout the market, including the offering of a superior product – superiority that advertisers notice – but can a broader conclusion be drawn from this?

XBIZ World, a relatively new magazine, along with even newer sister publication, XBIZ Video, illustrate that even in technologically sophisticated markets, print is not yet a thing of the past. A casual browsing through the many offerings on the magazine rack at major retailer Barnes & Noble will also illustrate the strength of print in many markets, as does the continual launches of new print publications.

What really started me thinking along these lines, however, is the ongoing evolution of one of my favorite publications, Studio Monthly. A subscriber since the mid-1980’s, I’ve watched this fine magazine transform from AV/Video to become Multimedia Producer to Studio Monthly – a transformation accompanied by a dwindling page count, until its latest addition arrived yesterday; a very slight, 52-page publication – that’s 12 pages less than one of my other favorite magazines, the California Mining Journal, which serves a much smaller market.

Studio Monthly’s dwindling page count has also coincided with its launch of online properties studiodaily.com and studiomonthly.com, however, and with a market that is arguably more technology-driven than online adult, this isn’t much of a surprise.

What is a bit surprising is that among these examples, some of them started online then moved offline, while others began offline and then moved online. Although some might attribute the two-way trend to a “the grass is always greener on the other side” mentality, the underlying truth is that the more diversified your content distribution methods are, the more profit you will make by more effectively monetizing your content investments.

The same conclusion can be drawn for video companies moving beyond DVDs and into VOD at around the same pace as traditionally online-only producers are distributing their wares via DVD. And let’s not forget the promise of mobile platforms while we’re at it.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going with all of this, anymore than I think that the wider markets are sure as to where they’re going; but one thing’s for certain – putting all of your eggs in one basket isn’t the way to maximize your bottom line.


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