News & Views

Stories about the state of the print media industry are almost relentlessly grim, so it’s nice to see a couple about signs of life in one segment — magazines. The New York Post notes that last year was a banner one for magazine launches (http://bit.ly/13KnDlJ) while NPR has published an uplifting piece on the lasting appeal of literary journals (http://n.pr/1vBWpFG).

On the flipside, both the Atlantic (http://theatln.tc/1zuXlSM) and Bloomberg Businessweek (http://buswk.co/1BW72cw) seem skeptical about the prospects for newly cashed-up Next Issue Media, which offers a Netflix-like app for the magazine world, allowing consumers to access multiple titles with a single monthly subscription. Now granted, these venerable titles may be home to more than a few die-hard print traditionalists, but their core arguments ring true. Glossy pages just don’t look or feel the same on an iPad, and most magazines have perfectly good, responsive websites that make a paid-for app somewhat redundant. Just because a new medium exists doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea to use it.


Some compelling thoughts from global consulting giant Deloitte in their annual list of telecommunications, technology and media (TMT) predictions:

http://deloi.tt/1DF7BcD

The key (and perhaps most encouraging) takeaways from our perspective — first, that a lot of the hype about how the ‘Internet of Things,’ or connected ‘smart’ devices, is going to to revolutionise the way the average consumer goes about their business may be just that. As long as it’s associated with $99 lightbulbs (http://bit.ly/1BXXPhv), the IoT will remain more aspiration than reality. As Deloitte points out however, it may be a different story for enterprises, which have bigger pocketbooks and are already well-established users of smart gadgets. And the data some of those devices generate will open new marketing and content possibilities.

Also nice to hear that e-readers are a long way from displacing physical books completely, even among the younger crowd. Many are reportedly still attached to print books because they appreciate their smell and the sight of full bookshelves. We couldn’t agree more — is there anything quite like a leisurely browse in a crammed bookshop on a rainy day? Which is why we were disheartened by the news of the demise of yet another bookstore chain in our hometown (http://bit.ly/1C5CmDm). Show the love by splashing out on some real page-turners today, folks!

Finally, Deloitte’s less than sold on the financial prospects for short-form (under 20 minutes) video, hailed by many as the future of television. It seems it’s easy enough for short-form video to get eyeballs, but not repeat viewings or commitment — which should be far more important for content creators. For all the talk about shorter attention spans, audiences will still make time for a longer story — as long as it’s engaging, and well-told.

 

 

 


Happy New Year, everyone. In line with our prediction that data (compellingly delivered) will be used to build audiences and tell more stories this year, here’s a gem of an outfit that gets data visualisation right – Information is Beautiful (http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/). It’s created some arresting presentations on everything from air safety to diversity in the technology industry, but us being who we are, these two on must-read books are probably our favourites:

http://bit.ly/12E1CEy

http://bit.ly/1vTUBu4

IIB’s also produced a very handy cocktail recipe guide for those who aren’t inclined to let the holiday celebrations end just yet. Enjoy (ahem, responsibly): http://bit.ly/1Jw2Q6G