Neil Thackray’s Business Media Blog

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One Press, One Paper, One Day – Emaps Vision of the Future for Mags

There was a most interesting announcement last week from Emap Inform, the APAX/GMG backed publisher of Local Government Chronicle and Retail Week.  They plan to co-ordinate all their publishing dates so to that the magazine printing can be handled on a single press.  In addition, and of necessity, all the titles will move to a single format A4 on common paper stock.  By conincidence I bumped into a friend of mine who works for one of the major printers.  He told me that this annoucnement had promoted a queue of enquiries from other publishers wondering if they could do the same thing.

This set me wondering whether the Emap intiative was a necessary evil in the current market, or a clever part solution to permanently reducing the costs of being in print publishing.

The problems are obvious.  If any one of the titles is late passing, then all the titles will be late.  If the press breaks down, or suffers a series of web breaks it won’t just be one title that suffers but all of them.  If readers prefer some format other than A4 then that’s just tough.  Publishers and editors input into the creativity of the magazine presentation has been neutered. The single publication date might suit the manufacturing process but it  might not best suit the needs of the readers, advertisers or the publishers own competitive position.

On the other hand, in the current climate who would not want to cut production costs?  As a strategem on its’ own it has no other advantages I can think of.   It might imply that some publishers have concluded that the only way forward is to maximise the cash generated from print while they can.   I can’t help thinking though, that there is a better answer.  The poll on this site shows that two thirds of you think there can be a growth future for printed magazines.

An interesting conversation with the PPA last week prompted a thought that the industry could run a competition to create a business magazine format for the future.  I bet the winner would be someone we had never heard of before! If you have thoughts on what business magazines could be like in the future please email me and I’ll post your thoughts on the site either bylined or annonymously if you are shy.

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March 1, 2009 - Posted by | business media strategy | , , ,

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