Is the print magazine dying?BY REBECCA BISSET
People often say that magazines (real, hard-copy magazines) are dying because of online developments. Do you think there will come a time when people no longer pick up a physical magazine?
I will stick my neck out and say they will be around for the next 15 years. But most will have an e-version too.
After that hard copy magazines will be so refined and perfected that it will feel and look like paper but it will be an optic fibre or something even more sophisticated. We will be able to switch it on and off, update monthly content by pressing something on the page and not have to use any trees (because there won’t be any forests left) in the production of them but still have the same ‘flippability.’
What do you love about a real-life magazine that you don’t get online or on a platform?
Most of our female readers say that curling up on the sofa with a coffee and your favourite print mag is hard to beat. They love the feel of the paper. I know ours is getting a bit heavy these days – but I reckon that’s a good sign!
Does this mean your own company doesn’t have an online presence?
Online is an integral part of any business now. We have websites that include access to an e-magazine version for option both for Hong Kong and Singapore and now our new mens’ mag EX. All websites have an element of fresh content. We now have video capability and we are looking at different video options for our through-the-keyhole décor stories. We also have a directory of our clients (for example furniture) so that readers can go straight to advertisers websites.
Online is also the most effective way for us to sell our products including subscriptions and tickets for events – it makes things as easy as possible for readers, too. Much easier than having to find a stamp and post-box! It’s definitely an area we will be expanding.
The online calendar, news and noticeboard are updated every week.
What about social media? Useful?
Yes, we use Facebook, Twitter less so and we have our own bloggers. All are useful for up-to-the minute recommendations and referrals – with our print media there is a month’s lag at least so it gives us a lot more flexibility.
We provide reminders in the immediate lead-up to events and make sure people know when the new mag has hit the shelves; all of these things are so easy through these social media platforms.
We’ve only recently started pushing Facebook, but we’ve built a great base in a really short time. It’s very exciting and brings us closer to our readers. Social media is useful for us to reach a much wider audience than perhaps the print magazine does by itself.
Do you think your readership is mostly “traditional” or “electronic”?
It’s probably split according to age and sex possibly the over 40-year-olds women prefer the traditional version. Every month 25,000 read us via the website another 2,000 on e-version and we print 18,500 hard copies.
We do know that a slightly younger audience are interacting with our brands on our online platforms.
P.S But that may change though.. I think that once ‘us lot’ who were bought up with physical books are not the majority of readers, the % will shift to e-readers, e-mags etc. And then all of us going in to old age will love reading electronic versions so we can use a really large font.
Rebecca Bisset, Editor-in-Chief, Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd