Time Exec Touts Digital Editions

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NEW YORK -- A top circulation executive from Time Inc. made the case yesterday at the Circulation Management Conference & Expo for introducing digital editions to complement print versions of magazines.

The business drivers for digital editions are clear: postal rate increases on business mail as First-Class mail use drops; surging paper costs because of mill strikes in Finland and Canada; and environmental issues that resulted in the Victoria's "Dirty" Secret campaign.

Add to those factors shorter production cycle times and the ability of digital editions to compete with other interactive media.

Those were the conclusions of Peter Meirs, director of alternative media at Time Warner's Time Inc., the world's largest magazine publisher.

Meirs cited several vendors in the digital edition space. Making his list were E-Book, Newstand, Zinio, PressDisplay, qMags, Olive, Texterity, nxtbook media and Rich FX. A few vendors required software downloads for consumers to read, some were application-based and others Web-based.

Meirs outlined the opportunities to a roomful of circulators grappling with this issue: How much pain or advantage is involved in having a mirror digital copy of the print magazine?

Screen display technologies are improving to cater to younger readers who are more accepting of digital content. Digital editions allow greater frequency of publication. Distribution through the Web or e-mail allows ubiquity. The international market is served more easily.

Most important, digital editions can incorporate rich media like video and audio clips for editorial and advertising use. Incorporating rich media also raises ad revenue.

"It's the first time for our ad sales people to talk something new to advertisers in 82 years," Meirs said.

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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