Introducing CarZine

May 31, 2009

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Been meaning to post this one up for a while now, CarZine is a sweet little Flash heavy mag. It’s a fine, fine example of interactive magazine design. Although a bit hectic in places I love the fact that it’s so layered and interesting, you get sucked in for quite a while, and I can’t even read the text!

It’s published on the eDition platform and makes good use of there customisable interface. Check it out:

World Magazine Congress

May 17, 2009

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I was really looking forward to hearing what some of the publishing industry’s top people had to say about the future of magazines. I was kinda disappointed. It seems everyone believes we are in a “crisis”, in fact this word popped up a hell of a lot over the day.

The first thing that struck me about WMC was the lack of young people. I was probably the only person under 35 and definitely the only person wearing jeans and a Blues Brothers t-shirt. Where were all the creative people? You know those people that actually put the magazine together, the people that really push this industry forward… where were the talks from Editors and Art Directors?

Most of the speakers were old fuddy-duddies who not only seemed reluctant to acknowledge a deterioration in magazine popularity but didn’t even seem aware of online interactive magazines.

Everyone spoke about electronic media naming websites, eReaders and pocket devices as the obvious future, but not one person on the Wednesday approached the subject of eZines. Why not? I don’t believe they don’t about them, Zinio and Ceros are both pretty big companies now. Are they scared to approach the subject because of the lack of knowledge or experience? Or do they just think they are shit and not worth mentioning?

Jonathan Newhouse, Chairman of Conde Nast UK was the first to really big-up the internet stating “Its possible the internet will dominate our industry”. No shit Sherlock. Now I’m pretty sure he figured this out years ago but it’s amazing people still feel the need to say it like its a new thing.

He mentioned Wired (US) magazine having a print readership of about 703,000 but a web audience of over 11.4 million. But he didn’t mention the prospect of an online mag despite Wired UK now teaming up with Ceros. I would love to have heard his opinions on eZines and how they can bridge the gap between web and print.

The common consensus is that the choice to go to digital is not ours to make, it’s upto the consumer and they have chosen. Web is now the future. Finally people seem to be listening. Although when anyone said “I love print” they would get a round of applause. I love print too but don’t fool yourself, it’s time to look at the wider picture.

The panel about magazines around the world was very interesting. Africa and Russia’s publishing history is something I haven’t been aware of before, but it was India that raised an eyebrow. 400 million mobile phones are currently in circulation in India alone. Mobile devices are as important, maybe even more so now than computers.

eReaders and Kindle’s were mentioned a few times, people seem to think that is the only option at the moment. Not so, online publishing is a viable option and as free wireless becomes more widespread it also becomes more accessible. And as soon as Apple stop dicking around and allow Flash onto the iPhone there will be the potential for a whole new wave of magazines.

“Content is king” this was phrase number two of the day. Finally people are understanding that what is important is the transfer of information from us (the publisher) to them the readers. Whether that be through print, books, bookazines, eZines, web, mobile or even event hosting, we need to promote brands as a whole package not just a single entity.

There also seems to be an agreement that content has to be original and you can’t just duplicate magazine content and bung it up everywhere, original content for each platform is a must to ensure quality.

Overall there was a lot of old shit being talked about, it was interesting to see what the big wigs had to say and it was great to see Ceros and eDition on show and creating a buzz. It was also massively frustrating to see no ones with any balls speaking. Everyone was playing it safe. Where was the passion and enthusiasm that I see in the office on a daily basis?

I hope next year FIPP can line up some people that aren’t afraid to speak their mind, even in this delicate economic time. In fact, as far as I’m concerned this is the best time to people to talk up.

For more info check out the FIPP site below;

Digital presence

May 17, 2009

I’m a little late with this but I’ve had a hell of a week so this is the first bit of time I’ve had to sit down and write.
After my brief rant about only suits attending these events a kind lady at the PPA gave me a press ticket for Wednesday so unfortunately I missed Felix Dennis’ talk and the Tuesday panel Digital Magazines. I did however get a chance to snoop around and take in some talks and stand demos.

Digital Publishing seemed to have a strong presence with Zinio, Ceros and eDition all in attendance.

Ceros gave me a sneak peak at their soon to be released online magazine builder, a tool used in the creation of new issues. It’s a web based app that looks very simple to use offering video placement and link creation with ease. They also spilled a few details about their new Ceros build due towards the end of the year, seems like they have some good stuff planned…

eDition had a nice little stand with a great demo of CarZine, a new online mag in conjunction with Porsche. A really nice, Flash heavy title that looked really good and runs really well on the eDition platform. I think they raised a few eyebrows with their demos.

Zinio were out in force trying to persuade people they were still head of the game. I don’t agree personally, I think charging people for eZines is wrong and I think the simple uploading of print PDFs to an eZine is a shit way for this industry to progress. Zinio don’t seem to be as inovative or as willing to push the boat out as much as the above two companies. If anyone knows different feel free to tell me I’m wrong…

World Magazine Congress 09

May 7, 2009

Shortly after my post below moaning about events like FIPP being out of my price range a lovely person from the PPA kindly set me up with a pass for the remainder of the event, thanks!
They’ll be a report going online sometime tonight but it was good to see a strong presence of online publishers; eDition, Ceros and Zinio…