Watching the inauguration of President Barack Obama was indeed an inspiring thing even if it was on television. Sadly I did not receive an invitation. Seeing my friends update their pages on Facebook such that photos taken at the inauguration were posted immediately also was a cool way to interact and get a bird’s eye feel for how it might have been to be there.
Magazines like LIFE and the Saturday Evening Post used to perform the same function. Detailed photo spreads on events of the day made their product must see media.
So while most of the weekly magazines are doing their darndest to remain alive (and this is apparently a losing battle – see US News going to a monthly!) the way magazines could stage a revival would be to offer a product that the internet simply cannot compete with. Lush photo spreads of the inaugural on heavy paper would be a collector’s item for sure and a hefty cover price to boot would be a huge draw for readers and advertisers alike. Count on several being on the newsstand next week although I have no advance knowledge of a particular publication taking this direction.
My 15 year old daughter still gets Seventeen Magazine and told me that she would rather get the magazine than read it on the internet but she likes having access to both. She/I pays for the subscription and reads it cover to cover as soon as she gets it. Talk about connection! There is something about seeing photos on high gloss high quality paper that makes them much more memorable than when viewed on your computer screen.
So while it is no surprise that the mass magazine appeal of the 1950’- 1980’s is dying away, magazines occupy an important part of the media equation. Upgrade the paper, charge more and connect with the audience in a personal way by delivering them the content they want to see and read. The market may be much smaller but it will still be a market after all…