Is there a more challenging place to work in media right now than in magazines?

Print sales falling. Digital platforms exploding. Endless technical challenges. More content variations required. The constant threat of advertiser pullbacks. Digital offerings not mature enough to make up for lost print revenues. Data challenges. Readers migrating to tiny mobile screens.

With every new opportunity, journalistic integrity is on the line. Too much work, too little time. Now Mark Zuckerberg says, “Have I got a deal for you!” Should publishers exchange control for eyeballs? The decisions to be made while traveling at light speed could steer their companies into digital dominance and dollars. Or, the opposite. Talk about pressure. And, they still have a magazine to put out every month (or week).

And now there is yet another report telling them about yet another platform they are missing out on. It’s almost too much to take. No wonder the results of this study indicate that the vast majority of magazine publishers have decided YouTube is just another piece of the pie; one they’ve decided to leave off their already full plate.

Of the 1,547 magazines in this study, fewer than 8% of them (115 magazines) produce a meaningful audience of 10 million views or more on YouTube. And 52% of the magazines in this study have fewer than 100,000 lifetime YouTube views.

A handful of magazines, however, are doing a great job on YouTube. This report – titled Consumer Magazines on YouTube – reveals who they are and where they are excelling. YouTube offers one of the easiest, fastest, most measurable and least complicated roads to success … especially for publishers who are already making video.

Here are four reasons we think now is the right time for magazine publishers to focus their audience building efforts on YouTube.

YouTube is a direct line to multiple forms of digital revenue.

Compensating for lost print earnings with your wired media revenues isn’t easy. Studies show that for the average magazine, only 4% of revenues come from digital. Imagine if your YouTube efforts could double that, to 8%, after only one year of working to market content there. We’ve run the numbers for a wide variety of magazines; accomplishing this is a distinct possibility for many. Don’t be put off by the paltry ~$2 eCPM that comes from putting pre-roll on your video content. Once you have audience, there are specific things you can do to turn those eyeballs into meaningful revenue.

YouTube is manageable.

Compared to the other projects on your To Do List, YouTube is real simple. There are no technical challenges. If you’ve already been making video, there are no content challenges, either. Winning on YouTube requires doing two things well: Making the right content and marketing the content right. If you’re already making content, you can outsource the channel management/marketing to a company that knows the fastest path to success … at prices that will still yield a terrific ROI.

Magazines can win big on YouTube.

Chances are, your magazine’s success has already proven that it pulls big numbers on YouTube. Take a look at your YouTube competition. Not your fellow magazines, but other channels addressing the same subject matter. If you’re a kayaking publication, look at the YouTubers who are talking about kayaking. If you’re a parenting publication, look at the others talking about parenting. For almost every magazine category -- even Business and Politics -- the audiences achieved are gigantic in comparison to what the magazines are pulling in. Enter your magazine, making a serious effort on YouTube. You have advantages others don’t. You’re already recognized as an expert in the field. You have access to some of the juiciest topics. You know how to curate well. You’re not hawking a product. You authentically love the same things the audience loves. You’re in the perfect position.

YouTube is free advertising to grow your brand’s audience.

Some people think YouTube competes with their brand.com. It doesn’t. Just the opposite -- it’s like a free advertising billboard for it. As successful YouTubers have demonstrated, once you build an earned audience you pull them over to your other platforms with the right messaging and incentives. YouTube gets more eyeballs on your content, and many of those new viewers won’t be your current devoted fans. That expanded, digitally oriented consumer that uses YouTube as his or her television is important to find. Use YouTube to grow the audience for your mainstay digital efforts.

Interested parties can download a free copy of Consumer Magazines on YouTube here.

Alison Provost is the CEO of Touchstorm, a technology-based services company that builds Alison ProvostYouTube audiences for the world’s largest brands. www.touchstorm.com

Check us out on Facebook at MediaBizBloggers.com
Follow our Twitter updates at @MediaBizBlogger

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaBizBloggers.com management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.