In this interview with Meg Carter from InPublishing he shares his views on print and digital, as well as outlining plans for a revitalised Periodical Publishers Association.
Mr Magazine (aka Professor Samir Husni of the Magazine Innovation Center might like to consider McIlheney's definition of a magazine:
"It's not just about saying magazines are great, but promoting high quality editorial content with a magazine heritage delivered across any platform. It sounds a mouthful, but I'm talking about the unique mix of words and pictures and the relationship with the consumer that 'magazine' means, and that’s a mix that doesn't just have to be delivered via paper and ink."
The magazine industry has gone beyond the old debate about whether you are a magazine or a digital enthusiast, he adds, and as an organisation, the PPA must similarly raise its game.
PPA members will increasingly rely less on print - already the case for many B2B publishers, he readily concedes. But he doesn't see that will necessarily be the future for everyone. "One size does not fit all," he says. "Gradually over time other platforms grow, but there will always be fantastic products provided in print."
Types of launches may change. The old FMCG-style multi million pound TV and print launch extravaganza for a print-only product is probably not now the way forward. But we will see more launches, and we will see print-led offerings across multiple platforms. Because the starting point, irrespective of platform, remains the same: a really clever idea that will turn people on by appealing to their passions. And while there will be a growing need for technical people within publishing, there will still be a strong need for people with journalistic skills, creative ideas, flair, spark and - of course - consumer understanding." McIlheney adds that he will be watching closely uptake of the iPad which, he thinks, presents "a fantastic opportunity" for PPA members.
All quotes taken from: http://www.inpublishing.co.uk/kb/articles/barry_mcilheney_interview.aspx
For the record, this is Professor Husni's take on the subject: http://mrmagazine.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/what-is-a-magazine-really-the-debate-goes-on/