Migrating toward E: Magazine outlook from BPA

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Glenn Hansen
Glenn Hansen

At BPA, we believe the market will continue to witness the trend of media owners migrating toward “E” — that is, moving into electronic and digital media — to monetize their brands across multiple platforms. While the print product will remain a strong part of the mix, publishers who don't expand into the digital realm and focus on the quality of the user will surely miss out on the marketing dollars that are pouring into that arena.

E-zines

Business publications and, to a lesser extent, consumer magazines will continue to convert print subscribers over to digitized or electronic versions, dubbed e-zines. Looking at BPA's own membership data, e-zines have grown steadily over the past four years, and there is no indication that this trend will slow any time soon. In speaking with digital vendors, they are reporting the same, steady growth in digital customers.

E-zines make sense for several reasons. As printing and distribution costs increase, in the US and internationally, e-zines offer publishers a very viable alternative to the printed piece. Electronic versions also allow the subscriber to archive each issue for easy retrieval at a later date.

We also foresee that publishers will begin using e-zines to further engage their audiences as the digital products become more robust and interactive in both editorial and advertising.  Advertisers need to commit to the technology and devise creative that engages and is interactive. Simply repeating the print ad in the e-zine is equivalent to an opportunity lost!

Integrated media plans

Gone are the days when an advertiser's media buy consists simply of print ads. While many advertisers today use traditional print media, most are filling out their buys with alternative media solutions that include the Internet, event marketing and even mobile media such as iPods and Blackberries. For this reason, media owners and publishers have been forced to explore and embrace a wide variety of new and evolutionary media platforms — including online.

Whether it's publications and Web sites, publications and e-mail newsletters, publications and events or any other media mix, we're seeing a pronounced trend by media owners toward integrated marketing plans that better serve their advertisers. This trend will only grow as we move further into the 21st century.

Relational Databases

Tied to this, we will likely see a rise in publishers' interest in the relational database. Instead of using a generic message across print, online and face-to-face communications, media owners are beginning to recognize that each platform might have differing users who each use information in distinct ways. In other words, the media brand manager has a greater interest in understanding who is using the different platforms and then providing better, targeted products and services to the user in a more efficient manner.

Along those same lines, buyers of online media will shift focus to quality of user, rather than quantity alone. Some of this trend will originate out of frustration with the continued lack of consistent accurate measurement, given the ever-changing online world. It will also partially originate out of simple but proven best business practices.

BPA looks forward to the promises and challenges facing the media industry over the next year. It should be an interesting ride.

Glenn Hansen is CEO and president of BPA Worldwide. You may reach him at ghansen@bpaww.com

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