Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Newspapers – the new magazines

Simon Jenkins has been on a run of good form with his recent Guardian columns (ie I agree with him) and today's is an interesting addition.

His thesis is, basically, that newspapers
should be staging everything from commercial fairs to sporting events and arts and book festivals. There is money in all of them. Newspapers should not be investing in fancy printing presses but in the "long-tail" economics of live enterprise, with the printed word as a mere core activity.
That is, they should look to brand extension for new revenue streams. He takes as his model the music industry but surely, surely, this kind of brand extension is exactly what magazines have been doing for the last, what, 10, 15, 20 years?

Felix Dennis managed to parlay Maxim into just about everything, including the gambling industry (as reported in USA Today), before the bottom started falling out of ladmags; many magazine brands have their own shows and exhibitions (consumer titles as well as B2B) and most of those generate healthy profits. Online sites offer numerous opportunities for commercial tie-ins.

If Jenkins's idea is taken up, what lies ahead? The Daily Me with added festivals? Or a daily news magazine that supports the brand in the physical print world while the real business shifts to the National Exhibition Centre and assorted giant marquees around the country?

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