Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends

The Future of Print Magazines

What’s the future of print magazines? Are they doomed?  If a gauge of their influence is a function of how newsworthy they are (other than news reports about media groups from Hachette to Time Warner and Hearst being bought), then one could think they¹re hardly relevant. I recently met with Sara “Fifi” Castany, a legend in publishing, and former editor of big titles ranging from the Spanish language versions of Cosmopolitan and Ocean Drive, to luxury custom publications such as Bal Harbour and Fisher Island magazines.  Now owner of her own custom publishing company, Sareli Media Group, I asked her about the role of print magazines in the future.

“I think we are experiencing an important transformation in the publishing industry,” said Castany. “We can¹t deny the Internet has impacted our
business, but print is hardly dead, the playing field is just changing. Who will survive? The really great magazines will, the ones that have managed to be exciting and unique in a niche market, ” she continued.

What I found most interesting about what she had to say was how luxury brands are selling products by transforming their catalogues into quasi
lifestyle magazines. An early adopter of this marketing strategy was Williams Sonoma who started featuring recipes in their catalogues along with
carefully styled displays of tables set for the holidays with their dinnerware, linens and enticing meals.

“These product catalogs with integrated editorial content are called magalogs, and they are very effective in engaging the consumer and enhancing
the shopping experience,” said Castany. “Neiman Marcus started out by including fashion trends and unique gift guides. Today their catalogs are
must-haves for any fashion savvy customers,” she added.

In house hotel magazines have tended to be little more than advertising vehicles that have a branding benefit – association with other luxury brands and thick, glossy stock that makes a luxury statement.There’s a lot of room to adopt this new “magalog” formula to travel industry products and combine the best of both — what has existed with a new service orientation.

The days of the mass market magazine are just about over. For magazines, it’s about luxury and niche titles that are indulgences.  Nothing like going to the beach with a cool drink in hand and a stack of my favorite magazines.

The Future of Print and Broadcast Media

mc cherry bombeAt an HSMAI presentation I gave to the South Florida chapter early last year I was asked about the future of print and broadcast media. I answered that there will always be a place for print, though it will become a niche medium, much as books published by the likes of Assouline and Taschen. And sure enough, in a recent issue of Departures magazine, a news short entitled “Defying the Digital Age, One Issue at a Time” discussed new niche titles that are charging as much as $72 for four issues. Most charge no less than $25 or $35 for two issues a year, so they can profit on the subscription side versus the special deals I’ve been getting from mass market, upscale magazines charging $1 a copy. These new titles include Lucky Peach, the new baby of Momofuku celebrity chef David Chang; Cherry Bombe, featuring beautiful women making gourmet fare; and Man of the World, Alan Maleh’s “tribute to an all American lifestyle, handmade and rough shaven”.

Similarly in broadcast, consider a franchise like TV sports. What is the business strategy of behemoth ESPN? To dominate the field exclusive of the niche channels like golf (Golf Channel), tennis (Tennis Channel), etc. Likely though, that if and when these niches become really big, they’ll buy them out. Let’s see what happens with the WWF’s new wrestling channel.

Blogpost by Karen Weiner Escalera, President and Chief Strategist

 

 

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