Why print is the Father of the Holy Trinity

geoff hird

Publishers Australia chairman Geoff Hird still believes in print. He explains why

I believe in magazines.

In fact, I will go so far as to say, I believe in PRINT magazines.

So much so, that in the past two weeks I have launched a new one, and bought another.

It’s quite simple, really – both were well considered, well researched, business decisions.

In launching Technology Decisions into the print wasteland of IT media, we are definitely swimming upstream. However, recent research across our tech, engineering and science audiences showed us that print magazines are still a preferred delivery platform for their business-to-business information (over 50%).

While some may point to our closure of Voice+Data (11 issues) and the launch of Technology Decisions (7 issues) as a reduction of print frequency, the purchase of Australian Life Scientist (6 issues) from IDG, and a special (extra) expo edition of What’s New in Food Technology & Manufacturing will see Westwick-Farrow Media publish more print editions in 2013 than we did this year. We also have some new custom projects on the boil, and all feature a print magazine at the core.

However, despite popular opinion, the platform that publishers deliver their content on will not determine the ongoing viability of their business. As it has always been, the quality and value of their content, and how it meets the needs of their target audience, will…

I also believe in digital and mobile. Print, digital and mobile should form the Holy Trinity for magazine media companies in the land of fragmentation that we all now live in. Forsake any one of the three, and you risk losing your way.

Let’s call print the Father, digital the Son and mobile the Holy Spirit – the solid backbone, the potential saviour and the mysterious, unknown opportunity. Their strength is in their diversity, and the power that multi-channel offers to progressive magazine publishers.

Those who proclaim the death of print from their digital enclaves will restrict their reach, and their potential. As will those magazine publishers who ignore digital and/ or mobile. To ensure you reach as broad an audience as possible, we must embrace all platforms.

buggles video killed the radio starBack to the facts – every human being is different, and we all have our preferences, personality types and idiosyncrasies. Some still prefer cinema to TV, or radio to CD, and even (dare I say it) tabloids to tablets. Though it was a great tune, the Buggles got it wrong when they said Video Killed the Radio Star, and many are getting it wrong now in saying that digital will be the death of print.

In a business world dominated by a constant barrage of interruptive digital messages and media, the print magazine offers an escape. It gets the reader away from the distraction and allows them to consume the content on their own terms, interruption free. Surely this offers marketers a less cluttered platform to reach an engaged and targeted audience.

Savvy marketers are starting to wake up to the fact that if they want to zig while everyone else is zagging, magazines are a great option. Who would have thought a mainstream media channel would now be seen by some as ‘alternative’? Interesting times, indeed…

As we head into the second annual Magazine Week conference, it’s an exciting, challenging and opportunistic time for magazine media companies in Australia. I look forward to learning from and networking with my peers, and shouting from the mountain top that I BELIEVE IN MAGAZINES – in their many forms, permutations and platforms, one of which is, and will always be – print!.

  • Geoff Hird is Publisher at Westwick-Farrow Media and has over 22 years’ experience in B2B publishing. He has chaired magazine industry body Publishers Australia for the past five years.


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