[Congress speaker Q&A] Christian Kallenberg on ‘touch and feel’ in a world of ‘swipe and scroll’

Christian will be one of the speakers at the 41st FIPP World Congress, 9-11 October in London. Click here to book your place.

After starting his own publishing consultancy We Like Mags based in Berlin in 2011, the next year Christian Kallenberg revived one of the 80’s leading magazines – Yps, a German title with cover-mounted gifts and editorial ranging from comics to science, geek news to DIY tutorials. Being a former YPS kid himself he currently enjoys editing what appears to be “the only magazine in the world aiming at kids over 30”.

Christian Kallenberg ()

Christian gave us a sneak preview of some to the aspects of his upcoming talk at the Congress focussing on the value of print in a digital environment, titled: ‘Touch and feel’ in a world of ‘swipe and scroll’,

What started your passion for printed magazines?

I’ve got to admit I’m already 40. So as a kid of the 80’s I grew up with print, reading old Asterix comics at my grandparents house. I forgot about those days for many years, until recently I gave these comics to my daughter. While reading she shouted: “Dad, these pages smell!” Even though she probably didn’t mean it in a 100 per cent positive way, it struck me at that moment that printed products can activate more human senses than digital.”

Why do you believe so firmly in the future of printed products?

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think that print will become as big and strong as it used to be. Those days are over. Period. But in a multi-platform strategy print will continue to play an important role, because it can address more different senses than a digital product. Funnily enough there are very few publishers who take advantage of this fact, while many try to make their product as digital as possible e.g. through augmented reality apps.

Will you be sharing specific best practice examples at the Congress and if so, can you mention one?

Yes, I will talk about the German Yps magazine we relaunched five years ago. It was the inventor of the cover mount in the German kids magazine market 40+ years ago. The idea is still ingenious today: give your client an added value he can benefit from in real life.


We Like Mags ()

WeLikeMags.com screenshot


Give us some sense of the advantages analogue media have within the disruption of digital publishing.

The first step is to become aware of what this platform CAN do, instead of bemoaning what it CAN’T do. I always ask: why try to become part of virtual reality if you can be part of reality? The key is the added value only print can deliver: through the magazine supply chain we can bring 3D objects to our customers that they can touch and feel. The challenge for every publisher is to define these objects in his specific market or segment. And to combine this strength with the advantages of other platforms.

There are those who say the only reason why certain printed products still exist is because of nostalgia and that this nostalgic generation will eventually also die out. What will you say to these people?

Nostalgia can be helpful as a marketing tool these days. Don’t be shy to use it if it helps. But the key benefits of print mentioned above will never die out.


Magazine reading ()


At the end of your talk at the Congress, what is the one single thing you hope your audience will remember?

Use the unique power of print as a platform!

More about Christian Kallenberg…

Christian Kallenberg, director consulting at We Like Mags, Germany, has been involved with high profile launches of both internationally known and German specific brands. He has been active as an editor, publisher and consultant to numerous launches in the area of consumer titles, primarily print magazines but also apps an epapers as early as 2011. Having started his career in 1996 as a journalist at Bauer Media Group, by the early years of the new millennium he got appointed as editor of the German version of FHM, followed by similar ventures for L’Officiel Hommes, Octane and others.


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