Delivering the special address on ‘Magazines: Medium of the Future’, Chris Llewellyn, President and CEO, International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP), spoke about how magazines were still an efficacious medium of news and entertainment for the masses. He reasserted his belief that magazines would stand the test of time. Llewellyn was speaking on Day 2 of the Indian Magazine Congress.
In his stimulating presentation, Llewellyn pointed out how the magazine industry had steadily grown even after the advent of newer mediums. Quoting Steve Balmer, CEO, Microsoft Corporation, from The Washington Post, Llewellyn said, “There will be no more media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no more newspapers or magazines that are delivered in paper form – everything will get delivered in electronic form.” In a tongue-in-cheek comment, Llewellyn pointed out that Balmer had used the print medium to convey his thoughts.
To explain what a magazine was, Llewellyn also quoted Dr Samir Husni (aka ‘Mr Magazine’ and author of the annual Samir Husni’s Guide to New Magazines’ and said, “Without the ink, the paper, the touch, the smell, the look, the taste, it will not be called a magazine”. Llewellyn pointed out that from 1995-2009, the digital medium had seen an exponential growth. But at the same time, he asserted, magazines too recorded a very high growth rate. “Magazine publishing became faster, cheaper and better than ever. During this period, there were more magazines launched than ever before and more cross-border publishing than ever before,” Llewellyn added.
According to him, this implied that new inventions did not kill old ones. “There is a tsunami of endless data and infinite choices. The work of the editor now is to filter this data through systematic research and intuitive knowledge. Magazines have a high level of engagement and trust, and that is exactly what the advertisers want. The need of the hour is that magazine publishers develop their magazines into brands; brands which can then be put against all the digital clutter in the market,” Llewellyn further said. And the opportunity of doing so was greater than ever, he added.
The FIPP President also stressed on the need for ‘innovation and differentiation’ in magazines, which could set them apart from the competition. He pointed out that several magazines had been launched and added that the entry of new magazines should not be the concern, but their success should be. “Advertisers are keen on paying a premium for such ‘innovation and differentiation’. The element of tangibility that a magazine has, makes it special,” Llewellyn concluded.