Transmedia storytelling is a term used to describe an interactive story that exists on multiple platforms. The narrative is complemented by a photo gallery, a game, a movie, or all of the above. Often transmedia storytelling includes community building and gamification. (As described by Technology Advice, is the process of adding game mechanics to an activity to influence user behaviour.) The purpose of video, audio, and gaming elements is bring a story world to life. No longer are our imaginations the sole place we can explore these story worlds.
We are the custodians of knowledge. Except, we really aren’t. The internet is.
Everyone is expected to be an expert in the job market. If you’re an editor, you’re expected to have design skills. A finance aficionado? You’ll probably have to have some marketing skills. One skill that has become even more integral to every field is the ability to create, manipulate, and develop web content.
By Summer Zhang
At the D11 “All Things Digital” Conference held in 2013, Mary Meeker discussed in her presentation on internet trends how there are now 2.4 billion internet users around the world, with the total number continuing to grow at an 8% yearly rate. According to the latest “The survey of the American Consumer” from Gfk Group’s Mediamark Research & Intelligence, up to 80% of American consumers today are able to access the internet to read digital magazines with digital devices. Therefore, digital magazines are set to grow fast over the next several years in the magazine industry as publishers begin to enter the digital field.
Print still dominates the publishing industry, but digital is catching up, and fast. Compared to conventionally printed magazines, digital magazines provide more opportunities for publishers to innovate their product. The digital reading experience can include sound and video in addition to text, which better fits contemporary readers’ way of engaging with media. Consumers can easily gain access to digital magazines through a variety of digital platforms. So magazine publishers can take advantage of digital technologies to make their products more informative and aesthetically pleasing to attract more consumers.
Printed magazines still maintain a large audience, but according to a survey in “Publishing Futures 2013: At a glance” undertaken by the Professional Publishers Association, digital magazines now make up roughly 32% of the market share. Sales of digital magazines have been increasing each year, and this trend appears set to continue well into the future. According to a survey by Inmobi, 72% of tablet owners make purchases from their devices on a weekly basis. Thus, publishers today simply have to include digital media as part of their marketing strategy. Print magazines, however, while continuing to dominate sales at the present time, are under pressure due to falling advertising revenue. According to a study by the Association of Magazine Media and Kantar Media, the number of ads purchased in 2013 for iPad editions of magazines rose 16%, and according to the Pew Research Center, digital ads now make up roughly 6.6% of overall magazine revenue. According to figures from Adobe, whose digital publishing suite powers around 80% of all digital magazine editions currently in circulation, the total number of digital magazines downloaded every week increased from 300,000 per week in 2011 to a staggering 2 million per week by the end of 2013.
Many publishers have recognized this digital transformation and are adjusting their production processes to capitalize on the benefits of digital editions: digital magazines open up new advertising models with the potential for greater impact on consumers, marketing departments are able to share their magazines with a wider audience through social media channels, and readers can have access to videos, which adds a new dynamic to the consumer reading experience.
Named the best tablet magazine in 2013 by the National Magazine Awards, the digital edition of National Geographic is one example of great success in the digital magazine field. The magazine offers in-depth reporting, world-class photography, a beautiful design, smooth navigation, immersive interactivity, social media integration, and engaging motion graphics. National Geographic successfully attracts a large number of consumers by providing them with opportunities to read, play, and share content through online networks. According to National Geographic CEO John Fahey, the magazine had 181,000 subscribers in 2012, a number which has continued to grow over the past two years.
A survey in “Online Publishers Association Study Reveals Attitudes of Today’s Tablet User” found that 61% of tablet users purchase some form of digital content, and that tablet users pay for magazines more often than any other content.
Compared to print magazines, digital magazines offer the same layouts, content, and advertisements. ComScore Inc., a leader in measuring the digital publishing world’s performance, found that two in five US tablet owners read magazines on their device, and that 40% of tablet owners regularly read magazines on their devices. According to GFK MRI, digital audiences grew from 9.2 million in 2012 to 16.9 million in 2013, representing an 83% increase within a year’s duration. (The new Mediamark Research & Intelligence report is the first of its kind to compare digital readership, including tablet and replica editions [though not magazine websites], over a year-long period). In addition, according to The Alliance for Audited Media’s report on US digital magazine subscriptions, digital magazine circulation doubled from 2012 to 2013.
With unlimited pages and more room for extras, the tablet is every publisher’s dream. Tablets save a large amount of time for both publishers and consumers. Instead of waiting out a long delivery process, readers can gain access to issues as soon as they pay for their subscription. Also gone are the obstacles involved in obtaining old editions of magazines, and consumers can enjoy magazines at anytime, anywhere if they have a digital device, without the hassle of carrying multiple print versions around. In our era of social media, digital magazines also allow readers to share content immediately at the click of a button, which is a convenient way to enhance communication between readers, and consumers can access advertisers’ sites by simply clicking a link, which benefits both publishers and advertisers. Readers can perform keyword searches on digital magazines to find a topic they are interested in within seconds. Lastly, as they are paperless, digital magazines reduce costs for publishers and save environmental resources.
I believe there to be three reasons why digital magazines will thrive in the near future. First, we now live in a digital world in which internet usage is growing rapidly on a daily basis. According to Mary Meeker, mobile usage is also growing rapidly. More and more people are choosing to read on their tablet or mobile rather than purchase a traditional print magazine. Many individuals today have grown up with the internet and are thus more used to interacting via social networks and engaging media through technology. Second, more and more technology and online tools are making it possible to publish multi-platform magazines in an easy and relatively cheaper way. There are no printing costs for digital magazines. According to Lormer’s research on the magazine industry in British Colombia, digital magazines will save the industry 43% of its average expenditures in total. Third, data online can be accessed anywhere.
Therefore, in order for magazines to survive and grow, they must become a part of the digital sphere, where today’s consumer spends a large amount of time. People today commonly expect digital editions of print magazines to be offered. Successful magazines must return to their roots of offering more to enhance their readers’ lives. In the future, as magazines continue to steadily transition into digital formats, digital magazines will no doubt take precedence over print magazines in the magazine industry.
1. Mary, M and Liang W, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers Internet Trends Report, 2013
2. GfK MRI(Gfk Group’s Mediamark Research & Intelligence)’s Survey of the American Consumer® is the industry standard for magazine audience ratings in the U.S. and is used in the majority of media and marketing plans in the country.
3. Publishing Futures 2013: At a glance, Professional Publishers Association Publishing Futures
4. Global mobile media consumption reaching millennials, Inmobi
5. Tablet Magazine Advertising Insights, Association of Magazine Media and Kantar Media
6. Publishing Futures 2013: At a glance
8. 2013 National Magazine Awards
9. Online Publishers Association Study Reveals Attitudes of Today’s Tablet User
10. The Impact of Connected Devices on Consumer Behavior, ComScore Inc
11. Interview from National Geographic CEO John Fahey
12. Lormer’s research on the magazine industry in British Colombia
Print is dying. Newspapers are dead. The world has gone digital. This is what Internet intellectuals like Clay Shirky believe. Essentially, they believe that everyone should face the facts, embrace the digital age, and stop hoping that print will survive. But what about the print that continues to survive? That continues to thrive? Print that either ignores digital advancements or only embraces them half-heartedly. Shirky is only correct in saying the unthinkable (that newspapers are dead) when it comes to publications that cater to tech-savvy urbanites who access media using various non-print platforms; people who may want the local news, but who get it easily from their online sources. These newspapers are hoping that digital facelifts will be enough to compete in the age of the net.
But local rural newspapers don’t yet have to face this threat, and may be immune for years to come. In the modern age, when people are turning to the web for their news, and urban print newspapers are dying, local rural newspapers are still proving viable. This is the case for a few reasons: people are inherently more interested in news that directly affects them, and want that inside, credible scoop; local rural newspapers that have launched digital platforms have been met with a lukewarm response; rural populations are largely people over the age of fifty who are not all willing to consume information from the web; and print newspapers continue to be filled with advertisements. Continue reading “Country Mouse Don’t Need No Web Cheddar: Why Local Rural Print Newspapers Are Survivors”
By Kaitlyn Till
Long-form journalism and creative non-fiction, a staple of print magazines and newspapers, have been assumed to lead a challenging existence on the web. Competing for the attention of readers and lacking the visual cues offered by the page layout of a physical magazine, the long-form article is fighting an uphill battle—or is it? A 1,500+ word piece can seem like an eternal scroll on the smartphone but, according to web publishers, people are reading them.
“Hello world!” These two words are often the first to be published on a new blog – its automatic birth cry after being launched, if you so will – to familiarize first-time users with posting, commenting, and making one’s message public.
Funny as this hello to the unknown depths of the Internet may sound, the meaning behind it is real: it has never been simpler to enter the online publishing game and, in theory, anybody with unrestricted access to the Web can view any page – it is just a matter of finding it. In the reality of the attention-driven business that is online publishing, the way the Internet is mapped and presented by search engines determines what is likely to be found and what is not, posing challenges to content creators and readers alike.
Once upon a time, the concept of copyright was created as a method of controlling the rights of printers and publishers. It was a means of maintaining competition by regulating the right to copy a printed work. On the internet, though, “every act is an act of copying.” (Maxwell, 2014) Copyright thus extended its reach to practically every use of intellectual property, avoiding only those uses deemed “fair” under fair dealings (Canada) or fair use (US) provisions. Suddenly, “uses that before were presumptively unregulated are now presumptively regulated.” (Lessig, 2004) Continue reading “Reversing Copyright: An Alternative Model”
Journalism is dead. Maybe in the traditional, one-way communication sense, but in its reincarnated, interactive form it is alive and well – and trending white-collar culture. Owned media. Custom content. Branded content. Sponsored content. Native advertising. These of the moment marketing communications terms are related to a movement called brand journalism – corporations turned publishers, using blogs, videos, infographics and social media to better engage their audience through participatory storytelling than traditional media outlets. “The future belongs to businesses that become the media, and brand journalism ultimately means you cover your business and industry like a reporter,” reads an article in Ragan’s Journal titled “A 5-step guide to starting a brand journalism program.” Brand journalism is developing a niche expertise not unlike working a beat, a la the CNNesque extreme sports authority, and brand journalism pioneer, RedBull. Continue reading “Brand Journalism: the Magazinification of Corporate Communications”
We’ve all noticed the steady decline in long-form writing. Fewer writers are being properly compensated for their efforts and a dwindling loyal readership is willing to pay top dollar for quality work. Correspondingly, an abundance of cat memes, life hacks, and celeb-centric listicles have been flooding our personal newsfeeds all at the cost of nothing. Is generosity the driving force behind this shift in our journalistic and publishing landscapes? This is an argument that social technologist Clay Shirky makes in his study of our current cognitive surplus. While his positive premise is valid, and frankly quite touching, it may be more accurate to deduce that we are experiencing an influx of condensed and frivolous content due to economic factors, rather than human benevolence. So what do the quantity and quality of public knowledge have to do with the price of eggs? I argue that they have everything to do with the price of rice, actually. Continue reading “The Price is Rice: Making Sense of a Cognitive Surplus”
“The regular internet is just a hotbed of surveillance […] we should probably just start calling the web the Spynet. (‘What are you up to this morning?’ ‘Nothing much, just shopping for some books on the Spynet.’)” – Clive Thomson, WIRED Magazine.
As users of social media, search engines, and cloud email, we live within a very centralized and highly monitored area of the internet. In reality, however, there are many different levels of centralization and monitoring that exist in network form.
Paywalls will never work as a long-term solution. The mindset of the paywall is a remnant of the publisher-as-gatekeeper model. It is an exclusionary tactic that tries to build revenue on services and content freely available elsewhere. What is needed is a shift in perspective to the customer, to a model that is more likely to foster innovation and growth by approaching the issue of monetization from a service-based model, not a container/advertiser-based model.
Many years ago I was employed by a major software company as a developer assigned to their operating system help files. As such, my responsibilities not only included ensuring a good user experience but also ensuring that the content, which was saved in an HTML format, was “localizable”. This meant that the content was ready to be “localized” for 30 world regions—localization is defined by applying content that is not only translated, but relevant to the location where it is spoken.