Samir ‘Mr Magazine’ Husni from the Magazine Innovation Center Meek School of Journalism and New Media, USA, addressed attendees at the FIPP Research Forum today (23 May) in Barcelona, Spain, with the declaration: “As long as we have human beings, we’ll have print.”
“I do believe in digital, but we have to use the best of it to enhance print”, he continued, saying that magazines should proceed very carefully into the digital world. “The iPad is three years old, magazines are more than 500 years old”, he said, suggesting that we should expect far more innovation where tablet devices are concerned.
Husni cited several examples of US magazines closing and reinventing themselves online, but asked: “When print mag is drawing last breath of ink, is digital really the life support for it? Or is it prolonging the inevitable? Don’t forget that there is a magazine life-cycle. Cut your losses, let your magazine die in peace and don’t torture it any more. TV shows come and go, and no one ever talks about the ‘death of TV’. So what do we do it with print? In print media, we love to dig our own graves!”
Advising publishers on what they should be doing to keep their magazine brands alive, Husni suggested harnessing the ‘traditional publishing model’ of focusing on the audience. “We are letting our advertisers know more about our audiences than us. We are focusing on other things, and forget audience. There’s no reason why print and digital can’t exist side-by-side.”
In conclusion, Husni recommended hiring younger people. “I am a magazine innovator, but I can never innovate like someone of 18 can. Hire some young people and see how they react to your print brands!”
The FIPP Research Forum is a two-day event for publishers, researchers and marketing executives in the magazine business. It has attracted some of the world’s leading magazine research professionals, who meet to discuss the latest issues and developments in the industry worldwide.