Friday, October 24, 2008

Could the Collapse of the Magazine Industry be Upon Us?

I may have put my foot in my mouth when I wrote this post... because, just a few days later, I read this in the Huffington Post. Yes, it's true, Radar Magazine and Radar Online have folded. Though the magazine seems to have steady readership, both in print and online, and was even nominated for a National Magazine Award, it failed to meet financial expectations. The print version of the magazine will be discontinued, while it's online counterpart is being sold to AMI and will likely exist as somewhat of a TMZ-type site.

I still hold true to my claim that magazines offer the depth of coverage that blogs simply can't provide and thus won't completely abandon print in favor of fancy, interactive Web sites anytime soon, however with a 9.5% drop in magazine ad revenue this past year, investors are begining to lose faith that the industry will remain monetizable.

While I personally hope that magazines continue to stay afloat, this is proof that advertisers are begining to follow customers' desire to go digital and looking to spend more of their dollars online. In this industry and amidst Web 2.0, the magazines that will win are the ones who can show advertisers that print offers true value that digital sites can not.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In the Changing Media Landscape, Will Magazines Become Extinct?

Following last week's Politics 2008 event, PRSA posted a great summary of the Keynote Roundtable discussion, entitled, "The Changing Face of News: The Power, The Influence and the Challenge of the Future."

In recent conversations, many have cited increasing online readership and decreasing revenue as evidence of the fall of print... but what about the magazine industry? (In fact, the above noted PRSA article mentions an interesting point: During the panel, Time magazine's Richard Stengel has become "a digital publication that puts out a weekly print publication" in efforts to adapt to new media.)

As more readers turn to the Web to get their daily dose of news, one might expect that magazines would be forced to adapt too. However, Graydon Carter, editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair noted that magazines and the new digital news are nearly completely separate industries. He said, "The one thing a monthly magazine can do is be slower and tell a story because there is so much information and everything's so fast, that if you compete with the notions of speed or immediacy or just information, you lose to the Internet." Interesting, but a great way of viewing the situation.

Looking at my own media consumption, I realized that I, too, use new and traditional media for different purposes - I like receiving up-to-date news via my RSS, and I like the opinionated slant some bloggers take, but nothing will ever take the place of a good "old-fashioned" eight page spread in Newsweek. Fear not, my friends - magazines are here to stay.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Power of Web 2.0

My Blog Action Day post from the ZENO Group blog, Acropolis:

Today is Blog Action Day, a day where thousands of bloggers worldwide will come together and write about poverty. We all know poverty is a big problem. Here in Santa Monica, for example, 277 people were considered homeless at the turn of the new year. 277 – That’s huge in comparison to Santa Monica’s relatively small size (pop: 87,212). While providing a real solution to poverty is critical, what inspires me is the way the event organizers are engaging the blogosphere in efforts to bring this pressing issue to the masses.

As we continue to evaluate the reach and effectiveness of non-traditional media outlets, many clients still put their faith in the traditional. We continually ask ourselves which is better – a small hit in The Wall Street Journal or a story in TechCrunch? Most would prefer The WSJ, largely because the reach is predictable and measurable, so blogger relations programs tend to be the first thing cut out of PR plans as budgets tighten. But another question to ask is, can bloggers act as a means to an end, instead of just an end in themselves? Last year’s Blogger Awareness Day proved YES, as the campaign was picked up in traditional outlets such as BBC, Reuters, FOX, Sydney Morning Herald, and Kathimerini Greece on an international scale – a reach far beyond expectations with relatively little financial investment. That’s the power of social media for you. And this year’s event, with 11,438 bloggers participating, is expected to generate a minimum of 12,437,788 impressions based on RSS numbers. By comparison, an article in USA Today would generate 2,284,219 impressions, but with nearly 13 million people reading about it on the Web, well, what traditional outlet wouldn’t want to tag along?

It is interesting to look at how social marketing has evolved throughout history, and how social media is feeding into this evolution. I can only think of a similar campaign that might have been initiated 10 years back – Smart PR person instigates Poverty Awareness day. Savvy PR staff organizes an event and writes a press release. Desperately-wanting-to-get-hired interns rigorously pitch the event to mainstream media outlets. Poverty Awareness Day garners international coverage and is a huge success. 700 more smart PR people catch on and do the same…

This campaign, however, is innovative, largely because it hasn’t been done before, and it has the potential to be more effective taking into account the discussion element (something traditional media lacks). Kudos to the organizers for taking an innovative approach to poverty; this truly showcases the power Web 2.0 has to reach the masses.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Paris is... Painting the White House 'Pink'?!

I'm sure you've all heard about McCain and Obama's new competitor. That's right, Paris Hilton takes the stand and is now in the running for President... or for "Fake President," that is.  Her fake campaign is not what I would call sincere, and obviously just her way of retailating McCain's recent commercials, but the PR side of me questions her motives in 'running' - to gain publicity for Obama, or for herself... or to bring more young people to the poles, if I dare ask?  

Despite my, well, less-than-love (if you will) for Paris, she does make some good fake points in her fake press interview - "Nowadays sound bytes, not sound policy, determine our country's course" she boasts.  Hm... I suppose there is some good truth to that statement, especially looking at how recent media coverage is affecting poll results and political chatter.   

On a broader note, there's been a slew of celebs jumping on the political bandwagon - Leo and camp, and P. Diddy for starters.  I'm interested to see how the combination of celebrities and their use of social media will affect this year's general election, especially amongst young voters.  Oh, and Paris? Can't wait to hear more about your "FoPo" plan; you've got my vote. 

Now, one last video to leave you with - "Does Celebrity Endorsements Matter in Politics" (Please don't fault me for bad grammar, it was contextual!) :)  What do you think?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My New Job!

After a long few weeks, application after application, interview after interview (and plenty of "You're a great candidate, but we're just not hiring"s) I am excited to announce that I am finally employed!  I interviewed a few different places and received a coupe of different offers, but ultimately decided to go with a small firm called Zeno Group (owned by Edelman).  I was very attracted to the small agency environment, intelligent employees, and creative work they generate for clients; and their stellar work in Web 2.0 was icing on the cake.  But the best part?  The LA office is 4 blocks walking from the Santa Monica pier ;)  My first day with the firm was Wednesday, and I love it so far!  I'm an AE in their Digital Lifestyle Group, so moving forward I'll be doing mostly digital campaigns for a variety of different consumer and tech. clients.   

I'll keep you all posted :)  Oh, and check out Zeno Group's blog, Acropolis, located here.  Another good one to check out: The Digital Deep, written by my new colleague, Nick.

PS: Thanks to everyone who helped and supported me throughout my job search; couldn't have done it without you!