- Contrary to Robin Steinberg, Media Vest's media buying guru, an iPad or any type of app subscriber offers advertisers huge new marketing and promotional opportunities. It is Steinberg's job to always attempt to obtain the biggest discounts possible for her clients. Thus, her concern over a digital subscriber not counting the same as a paper subscriber might be considered somewhat self serving.
- Steinberg's concern is in contrast to her positive vote as a board member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation when she voted in favor of counting digital subs as part of a print magazines rate base. Magazines are subject to the most stringent audits and numerous research studies of any medium. Over the years, many ad agencies who made the bulk of their profits from producing a few TV commercials have justified using less print by claiming magazines were not as effective in generating sales as broadcast.
- Ironically, an iPad subscription now makes a strong print brand such as the New Yorker or O, the Oprah Magazine now have the interactivity and visual impact of TV and digital combined. If anything an iPad subscriber will be even more engaged then a print subscriber; and have even better demos.
- Ms Steinberg was quoted in the New York Times as stating that since "these are the early days of the process it was critical we determine how copies are qualified and counted when served either traditionally or digitally" She added a concern that digital subscriptions not become the electronic equivalent of a New Jersey landfill where copies are dumped to make numbers look good.
- Wouldn't it be refreshingly innovative if Robin Steinberg for once applauded an effort by the magazine industry? And even offered to work with them to develop new ways to take advantage of iPad subs for her key clients. It is quite easy to be critical and negative. Steinberg inferred that by simply replicating the existing print ads and editorial experience in pixels Publishers were showing a failure of imagination and adaptation.
- While Ms. Steinberg would like Publishers to invest even more money in iPad ads and editorial she wants to separate the iPad subscribers from the print so she can benefit from commodity pricing that exists on the Webb. This type of thinking dismisses the value of a print brand. For example, a top rated TV show can command a premium; conversely why can't the same be true for a top rated magazine brand such as O, the Oprah Magazine or The New Yorker?
- The real challenge Publishers face is owning the back end data. A new company, Personif makes that now possible. Launched this past October by INFUSION a sixty million dollar global digital company, Personif engages the digital consumer on-line or with their cell phone, by enabling them to submit co-generated videos to enter contests, promotions or even audition for a TV show.
- Most major magazine publishers are making huge investments in their digital futures. This should be applauded rather then critiqued with the hope of getting lower rates. Instead of looking at the potential downside a major ad agency media executive ought to be thinking of the upside and how she can work with magazines to better serve her clients. Imagine an agency developing two different creative's for one magazine; one for print and one for digital. That too would be an investment in the future.
Steve's new book You Can't Fall Off The Floor - The Insiders' Guide to Re-Inventing Yourself and Your Career chronicles his 50 year career working for over 25 different companies with 189 lessons learned and insider tips from Gayle King, Cathie Black, Chuck Townsend and 28 others; Blacker is still going strong today as a partner in Frankfurt & Blacker Solutions, LLC. His web site is blacker-reinventions.com and e-mail address is email@example.com
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