Digital media-the new green?

25 Feb

Digital media.

It’s taking over our world.  How much longer until the traditional print forms are as much an antique as a Model T Ford?

In some ways, I love this new media form.  It’s convenient.  It’s often search-able.  I can have hundreds of magazines on my laptop, and not one worry about it being a fire hazard.  I don’t need to have anything in print unless I actually WANT to have it in a hard copy, and even then, I only have to print the relevant portion of the desired article/page.  It’s environmentally friendly.

BUT…

Not every magazine offers a digital version, so it has its limits.  Not all of the providers offer it in a downloadable form, which means I have to have access to the internet to view the magazine.  It’s hard to FIND which magazines offer a digital version too–it’s not like the traditional ones where I can merely mail off a post card and then each month, I receive a hard copy magazine in my mail.  In addition, what is the relevancy of a digital magazine if the information is duplicated on their website…or even better, is more current and has more variety on their website.  Especially if the provider doesn’t offer it in a downloadable form…what am I really getting for my money?

I think a lot of people are like me, and a bit dismayed to discover that giving up that hard copy magazine isn’t going to provide me with much in terms of a discount on the purchase of the digital subscription.  Often, the prices are the same, and logic tells us…it costs money to print up that glossy magazine and mail it to me, so why pay the same (or nearly the same) price for a version that is far less convenient and probably offers far larger profits to the publisher?

Yeah, it’s hard economic times, and everyone watches each penny scream as it is passed on for a purchase.  We all want our money’s worth and then some, and I think a lot of people aren’t really sure about the idea of a digital subscription.  I’m looking at it, and then I look at websites, and I can’t help but think…

Why not make the website look more like a magazine, and then get people to subscribe to THAT instead of a digital version of a magazine?  I’d far rather see a lot more content all at once, myself.  Imagine…it would be like subscribing to an entire library of articles, rather than merely scanning through a hundred or less pages of articles that require you to flip back and forth, skipping through the magazine to find the rest of the article.  As an advertiser, imagine being able to target your audience with really relevant advertisements, instead of a print ad that was designed six months ago.  Or, being able to see really current classified ads instead of ads paid for and prepared two or more months ago.

I like that idea, although I’m like everyone else, I don’t like spending money unnecessarily…or for less-than-wonderful products or services.  For reassuring people like me who remain a bit suspicious of quality, that 14 day trial or your money back concept is definitely a winner.

Other people may question subscribing completely, and remain unwilling to pay for content worth reading.  They want everything on the internet to remain free, just like it was in the “old days.”  Unfortunately, things always change, and as they change, the things about them change too.  Once upon a time, websites were much simpler, with fewer and lower resolution photos.  Companies paid less for hosting, and it cost less to hire someone to put the content there.  Today, that’s not true.  I know how much it costs to maintain a website, how hard it is to get quality content, and how much effort goes into maintaining it.  And our website isn’t anything remotely like a glossy magazine!

I kind of like the idea, in a way.  I can imagine it being a very helpful thing, to subscribe for $20 a year to this online “magazine” and have access to their library of articles, advertisements, photos, etc.  The concept has some elements of blogging–it’s up to date.  It has some of traditional print–it has articles.  It has some of the website too–it is still a website.  There’s even an element of a “club” involved–there are “members.”  Cemented around a common theme, each “magazine” would offer its members content that was assembled to coincide with a particular interest, such as rock collecting or rock music or rock climbing.

I guess I better get onto GM, and see what kind of application he could create for me in terms of a “magazine” page in which I can merely paste content quickly and easily from say, MS Word or Picasa photos.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

Dream on, dreamer, as my  mother would say.

 

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