Are online magazines a privilege of big publishers?

As circulations diminish, the printing and distribution costs of magazines constantly keep rising. Many large publishers are forcing consumers to take on print subscriptions on top of an online subscription to keep the printing machines rolling.
By Jukka Harjunen

All of this has a great effect on the content of magazines and newspapers, and on how that content is consumed. Editorial deadlines get shorter, yet at the same time, it takes longer for the printed edition to arrive at your doorstep. And all the time, the pressure for raising prices grows.

What is it that slows down the transition to digital? The big media houses have had the resources to develop smart solutions for digital editions, where the content from print is brought into a completely new reading format. At the same time, many smaller publishers and organisations are struggling with unfriendly PDF e-papers.

Wired has managed to grow its tablet footprint to more than 240,000 paying readers and the audience is growing all the time. Keep in mind that we are not talking about a simple e-paper here, but about a tablet optimised digital magazine.

The transition toward digital magazines and newspapers is getting faster as we speak and it is not only the privilege of large media houses anymore. There are several ways for smaller publishers to transform their content into something digital that is easy to read and share. Digital is soon becoming the primary way of publishing, not just a side product of print content.

Publishers already have several good tools for publishing digital content without forgetting a magazine-like reading experience. One of these is LiquidBlox which offers ready-made publication and magazine templates that can be customised to fit the purpose. ReadyMag also offers a similar service. These services have combined the best of both worlds by bringing the magazine-like reading experience into an online environment. Their easy user interfaces make it possible for anyone to create professional looking digital magazines and publications.

For example, the magazine of the Finnish family businesses union recently decided to put more effort into their digital magazine. So far, the experiences have been nothing but positive, says their communications manager, Kirsi Hölttä.

Jukka Harjunen is a Client Director at San Francisco Agency. He has 10 years of experience from the media industry.