Print Magazines Seek Life Online Via Netflix-Inspired App

The well-documented rise of digital technology has not only changed the ways human beings consume information, but also changed how much they expect to pay for it: nothing.

Print media’s high hope is to transition its wares online, and to reinvent its outreach strategies so that consumers come back to the subscription magazine paradigm. Venerable competitors Time Inc., Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, and News Corp. joined forces in 2009 to form the joint venture Next Issue Media. That venture created a Netflix-inspired app to jump start sales and inspire iPad readers to purchase online subscriptions or single issues of magazines such as Vanity Fair, GQ, and The New Yorker.

Corralling all of these brands into one place could lead to more sales, but these publications need to do more than simply attract eyeballs. The public wants value.

An effective PR campaign will leverage the value these magazines offer—original, insightful, and compelling content written by talented writers—so that readers know they are getting their money’s worth and differentiating themselves from readers willing to settle for free, less professional writing.

Publishing must experiment that account for what we know about human nature and how we see it developing alongside evolutions in technology. Instead of looking to Netflix for inspiration, publishing should also consider iTunes, where efforts promote bands, albums, individual songs, and, most importantly, communities. Fans of music help promote the entire industry; PR for the publishing industry should do the same.