Why do we need print versions of B&T and AdNews

Ben Shepherd writes: The new AdNews came across my desk today and had me thinking – why do these magazines bother with print runs?

Most of the news contained within is old. The News In Brief section is lifted almost entirely from the daily updates the website publishes. The job ads could easily be transferred online (which would lead to less turnaround time, less cost for both advertiser and publisher, quicker responses). The features and opinion pieces could easily be placed online.

Creative Choice is sometimes interesting – but again, easily transferred online. The ‘special reports’ we could probably do about – advertorial around POS and promotional companies.

What possible reason could they have to want to keep printing this magazine? why not transition it online and make it free or partially free with premium content available only to subscribers?

I’d imagine it’d be a better experience for the reader – information, opinion and news available in real time. It could really open up what these 2 publications could be in a digital world. They could incorporate blogs – ask for comments and opinions – encourage a two-way dialogue.

Lower cost for AdNews and B&T too I am sure. Lower costs in terms of layout, printing, distribution, cuts to newsagents, postage fees etc … plus a chance to really challenge the web, where most media professionals go for their up to date information. It’d probably result in higher readership too I’d say.

These 2 magazines have some good content that would work well online. And they do break news well – trouble is they never break news in the magazine …

Tim Burrowes – ex B&T – has gone out and started Mumbrella … a great read and something B&T could take a close look at in terms of next steps.

So why hasn’t it happened? Maybe some of the ads that run within wouldn’t translate that well to online? Surely that couldn’t be the reason though …


Liam Walsh writes: Andrea your comments were elegantly written and explain the issue precisely.

The market which funds adnews is not ready for a shift to online. Hence it is not commercially viable to switch. Also a bunch of people still prefer print or use both.

For the sake of the trees it may be good when it is entirely digital, however barring that I can see no point why Adnews should move to digital only.


5 responses to “Why do we need print versions of B&T and AdNews

  1. I’m a big fan of this blog, but since there are two writers, I would like to know who writes each article. Could you guys please indicate the author details with each article so I can picture the author in person ranting and raving…

  2. Andrea Sophocleous

    Hi Ben,

    you’ve raised some good points. From a reader’s perspective, you’re right (mostly).

    From a publisher’s perspective, however, the print product is where the money is made. Yep, those ads are there for a reason. And as you would know, nobody has been able to monetise the web to its full capacity.

    Printing a magazine pays our salaries, and allows us to chase and break daily news online – something our readers demand and deserve. I also believe online and print can co-exist harmoniously – in fact, they complement each other.

    You’re right, the “news in brief” in AdNews are edited versions of online stories. That’s because a portion of our readers don’t read the daily newsletter. They’re also printed as a matter of record.

    Most importantly, the magazine does break news. That’s where we publish exclusives that we know no other news outlet has caught wind of. In last week’s issue, for example, we broke stories such as Coca-Cola dumping Publicis Mojo from its ad roster, Levi’s appointing Host, Razor dissolving its join venture with Junior and the appointment of a new head of brand at Virgin Mobile. None of these stories were reported elsewhere.

    The magazine is also where we run longer feature stories, news analyses and industry trends. Thought provoking stuff of 2000 words or thereabouts, that’s not as easy to ready online.

    There’s plenty of other points I could make, but I have to dash off and get today’s breaking news organised.

    Andrea Sophocleous
    Editor, AdNews

  3. Some strong points there, but not everybody is comfortable consuming their media digitally as much as you may be. I’m in danger of slipping into stereotypes, but there is the old guard who’d prefer to flick through, and that can certainly be an efficient way to look for what matters to you. I think both ways can co-exist. Perhaps offer a much cheaper subscription for digital only.

  4. talkingdigital

    hi mark,

    no problem

    this is liam – http://bdzuver.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/4.jpg

    this is me – http://wally426.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/mannedyret_-_falling_down.jpg

    does that help?

    robert/andrea – thanks for commenting so quickly … great to get the opinion of someone working in the area (not a know it all media w*nker like me)

  5. Hi Ben,

    Counter-intuitively, for someone who’s just moved into a (for now, at least) online-only realm, I agree with Andrea.

    One of the things I was involved in towards the end of my tenure as B&T’s editor was its redesign/ repositioning as a print product. That was all about making the most of what print is still the best medium for – longer reads and more analytical pieces. In other words to say what’s happening on the web, and why it’s happened in print.

    Like most people in the industry, I look at B&T and AdNews just about every day online, and I read their print editions too. They serve different and complementary fucntions and will, I’m sure, go on doing so for the forseeable.

    The fact that advertisers support them, and readers subscribe, means there’s still a model there that works.

    Print’s not dead – it’s just moving over a little to make room for online.


    Tim Burrowes – mumbrella

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