Five magazines are giving away subscriptions to five magazines on five campuses — not to the print but to digital facsimiles of the print — in an effort to get these darned kids to read mags. Paint me dubious. Reading PDFs or equivalents is a pain. Either go online fully or don’t. There’s no wading into this new world, only a deepend.
Posts about magazines
Reports are swirling that News Corp. is considering starting a magazine out of MySpace, with Nylon as a partner. Says AdAge: “The editorial mix would likely cover standout MySpace members and their interests, from music to their social scenes.”
Years ago now, when Time Warner made its disastrous merger with AOL, I suggested to editors there that they should start an AOL magazine making the people in its boards and chats the stars. Went nowhere. Even right after the merger, there was no hope of synergy within what as then AOL Time Warner.
If I were to make that suggestion today, I’m not sure I’d push for a magazine, especially to News Corp. (where I used to work, on a magazine). Why not a TV show? You want a reality show? MySpace is a reality show. Or make a show out of all the YouTubes that the MySpacers make famous; it already is a network. MySpace as a brand could be everything that Current isn’t.
: LATER: J-prof Andrew Grant-Adamson reports that students in his class couldn’t rustle up enough support for a MySpace magazine. Doesn’t bode well.
Conde Nast and CondeNet have finally gone blog. I didn’t get very far in that crusade when I was there. Maybe it was me. But now, clearly, if Conde’s doing it, that means you’re nobody if you’re not blogging. Can Graydon be far behind? Anna?
BloggersBlog features a Glamour dating blog, See Alyssa Date, in which she promises to tell us the intimate details of her nights out with her guys and then follow the advice of readers in polls (should she “jump” him?). That sounds tantalizing, perhaps, until you watch her video. That voice. Anyway, imagine the guys waking up to read a review of their performance and a poll about them.
But meanwhile, over at Jane, we have the saga of Sarah on her “quest to lose her virginity before her 30th birthday.” And there, the men send in their reviews of her.
Well, if blogging turns out to be a way to get laid, everybody will be doing it.
Jon Friedman thinks he has the solution to Time magazine’s woes: distribute on Thursday instead of Monday. I tried that years ago when I launched Entertainment Weekly. I badly wanted it to arrive just before the weekend, at its freshest. But the distribution infrastructure makes that essentially impossible; the trucks roll on Mondays. We were supposed to have few newsstands, so I looked into special shipments directly to them (how about using this new thing called FedEx?) but that was horribly expensive. The Week magazine manages to do this but it is almost entirely subscription based and has very few newsstands.
Now that Time has a new editor — the word was that they’d get someone from the outside, but they got a veteran of the magazine — maybe he can explain to me why the magazine exists. Everytime I pick up Time, I come away feeling as if I just chewed their cud. If you read news on the web today, you get a better, quicker, more up-to-date overview. When I see a cover billing that interests me and buy the thing, it’s inevitably a mistake, because I’m reading a stone-skipping summary of something I know about. So why do we need Time? New managing editor Richard Stengel explains:
Mr. Stengel said yesterday that in some ways, the Internet poses the same kind of challenge to newsweeklies that the plethora of competing newspapers posed to Time when Henry Luce founded it in 1923.
“In a similar way, people were looking for one source to speak with authority and explain the world, and in many ways, that’s still our mission,” Mr. Stengel said. “We can be your guide through the forest of confusing information.”
No, actually, I don’t want you to explain the world to me. A guide, perhaps. But I’m sorry, I just don’t see Time as the one source to speak with authority and explain the world. I am quite glad the days are gone when anyone thought they could be that one source.
I don’t know why I would ever sign up to have GQ magazine send me mobile spam. What of value could they possibly say in an SMS: “Remmber your collar stays today”?
The most quoted and quotable bit from Kurt Andersen’s interview with Time Inc. editor-in-chief John Huey:
Near the end of our breakfast, I ask about the Future of Magazines. “The big question in everyone’s mind [at Time Inc.],” he says, “is how much [of the present struggle] is cyclical and how much is secular.”
A lot is secular–that is, permanent. We would like to believe that Internet-versus-print is analogous to TV-versus-radio in the fifties: The new doesn’t necessarily wipe out the old. But I think paper media today are more like sailing ships around 1860–still dominant but enjoying their last hurrah. I think it’s late in the magazine era. “I hope not,” says Huey. “If I thought they were dead, I’d do something else.” My elegiac turn has made this funny, enthusiastic man a little morose. “And [Time is] something that most people in America want to see survive, even if they don’t know it.”
That’s like saying most people want me to be President, they just don’t know it. No, I’d say that Time is hardly a necessity of life.
It was endearing, even heartwarming, to observe the obsessive loyalty of these subscribers. The dinner occurred smack in the middle of a horrendous industry slump. Magazines are desperately seeking advertising dollars these days….
That said, I’d hasten to add that these 12 EW subscribers truly need to get out and smell the flowers once in a while, too. (One of them talked about renting a hotel room while in college so she could watch the Oscars ceremony without having her roommates milling around and distracting her from the broadcast. She said that, by the way, with a shrug, as if this amounted to perfectly normal behavior. I don’t know about you, but I could barely afford to buy a slice of pizza when I was in college)….
They dearly missed EW during their period of deprivation. Zoe, a charming lawyer-turned-aspiring-actress, confessed to the group: “I felt lonely,” before smiling gamely and adding reassuredly, “just to the not-pathetic-side of lonely.”
The other panelists nodded knowingly….
Juan commiserated with Kevin, saying: “It was like not having a pen-pal write to me.” He then paused and added sheepishly: “You probably think it’s kind of … freaky.”
I’d like to hear more from those fans and not about the magazine but about the movies. Did Zoe find King Kong sexy? Did Juan get into arguments about Munich?
The point of this little show Friedman attended was, of course, to show the wonders of magazines. It’s all about the magazine. But see the post below about newspapers and community.
EW, I’m glad to see, does exactly what we hoped it would do: It attracts an community of people who love entertainment. But the internet didn’t exist when the magazine was born. Now it does. So now they could bring those people together to share their reviews with fellow movie fans. The magazine has a community. The magazine is a community. So now what?