Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis have noticed that I haven’t posted in some time. It’s been a busy few weeks, at work and at home. I promise to be better in the future.
I came across this discussion about the value of “content” brands. That’s magazine-speak for the words and pictures that photographers, writers and editors compile into a creative package each time we publish an issue. With the technological advances, along with the seismic demographic shift as younger audiences migrate to the web and other “post-PC” devices for their “content.” At first glance, the track record isn’t so good. The biggest brands that younger readers/viewers have come to rely on most for their content are actually tools and not the content brand itself: Google, MySpace, YouTube and the like.
Tony Silber, blogger about the magazine industry, writes: “Typically, as the world of media transforms before our eyes, we retreat to a couple of seemingly safe positions:
Â· The world will always need quality content and as long as we can create it and sustain it, we stay relevant.
Â· Our brands mean something important, so as information consumption migrates to new channels, we retain a halo benefit.”
Will this always be true? Certainly this isn’t the first time the introduction of a new media has threatened an older, more established delivery method for “content.” Television didn’t destroy radio. I’ve come to realize that this blog may seem to be one that laments the disappearance of an old media landscape. That’s certainly not true. (After all, I am writing this on a blog.) But we are living in an interesting age, when communication tools are literally at our fingertips but our audiences have become more fragmented. Mass media means something entirely different today than it did 20 or even 10 years ago.
Silber continues in his post to make this rather dire, if not premature, prediction: “In other words, the fundamental premise of a magazineâ€”a collection of content selected and edited by expertsâ€”has been wiped out as people get to pick and choose what they want.”
What place will magazines occupy on this new media landscape? I believe they will find their way, as they fill a need in people’s lives not replaced by other forms of emerging media. Only time will tell.