They’re going digital – Design Week and New Media Age leave paper behind.

The two magazines that we subscribe to in our office – Design Week and New Media Age, have arrived with rather intriguing letters this week. Both publications have declared that this will be their last week of print as they make the bold move to the World Wide Web. We are to accept that Design Week and NMA will now only appear on our screens. Our monthly subscription fee will ensure that digital versions of the magazines land in our email inboxes, rather than a paperback publication through our letter boxes. Times are a changing – but for the better?29357uepj7mr7vx

Good move /Bad Move?

The decision that New Media Age would go digital may have been spurred on by stats from other publishers wanting to take the plunge.

Guardian news and media are said to be adopting a ‘digital first’ strategy after seeing a huge rise in online audiences. Andrew Miller, Guardian Media CEO, said it will ‘direct resources from print to digital, in a strategy that could help digital revenues double to nearly 100 million by 2010’

A and N Media announced that The Mail Online will expand its app strategy after its mobile audience grew by 5.7 million in a year.

The evidence would suggest that NMA are not alone in thinking the digital switchover is a good move, suggesting there must be a reason for this shared thinking. NMA have put forward their argument in the following words:

Our readership research shows that New Media Age is most valued for its news and authoritative commentary. We believe that by concentrating on just digital we can improve our information service to you, ensuring we can provide better in-depth coverage of new media developments as they happen.

Over the coming months we’ll be introducing a number of digital services to subscribers, including a subscriber-only email service, a revamped mobile site and an iPad app.

New Media Age will continue to run a programme of events dedicated to helping you make sense of digital. We’ll also be drawing much more on our digital expertise for new regular features in sister title Marketing Week.

We believe the changes will make New Media Age even more of an essential read. But please tell us what you think as we develop, and watch out for your personal invitation to sample the new package at no cost.’

So they clearly seem to think that they’re making a good move – but what about their readers?

After researching some conversations on the web it seemed clear that not everybody thinks this digital switchover is a good idea.

‘Disappointed’ and ‘angry’ comments suggested that subscribers will miss receiving a published magazine every week.

Many seem to look forward to taking their NMA to the coffee shop with them and think it presumptuous to assume we can all afford iPads.

There seemed to be a lot of complaints about having to justify the cost of the magazine when no magazine is actually being delivered. As well as comments about having to stare at screens and the internet all day, reading a magazine in the arm chair brings some light relief from a nine to five digital existence.

All valid points that need to be taken into consideration - points that Design Week subscribers will be able to relate to as they received the news that Design Week was to go digital this week.

However, with the success of tablets such as the iPad, it’s no surprise really that there’s about to be a big move towards digital versions of publications.

Design Week has reportedly said that they already generate more advertising revenue through their website than they do their print magazine – suggesting that they are making the right move.

From a marketing point of view, leaving print behind seems like a no brainer.

Digital marketing gives marketers a lot more feedback and control in comparison with print. We can see in black and white what’s working and what’s not. We can tell exactly how effective an advert in Design Week is through how many impressions it’s got, how many clicks, how many hard enquiries and how much business was actually generated through that ad.

It also allows for articles and news to be far more up to date, therefore more reactive and current. Subscribers may often have found it frustrating to read articles in these magazines that were considered old news by the time the magazine was in print. They certainly won’t have this problem with digital publications.

As with any type of change, it’s inevitable that there will be conflicting opinions.

Many people will think that we’re killing off paper without considering the consequences, others will accuse protestors of digital publishing of being dated and narrow minded.

The most important test for these magazines will be in their subscription stats, is the move too bold for the majority? Or will they see a tidal wave of digital adorers who’ve been waiting for this very moment?

Will we ever see this change become fully accepted or will we always miss the smell and feel of paper in our hands?

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Enjoy the post… Vikki

Vikki Mills is Social Media and Marketing Executive at  Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of online visibility – covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.

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