Print: Dead Or Alive?
By Dan Dobbin.
“We’ll always have Paris.” Humphrey Bogart’s character Rick Blaine tells his former flame Isla Lund, played by Germany hottie Ingrid Bergman in the 1940’s classic film “Casablanca”.
The exchange references the cherished memory of a finished, but not forgotten, period of love shared between the two.
The human brain carries a propensity to remember the past as an idealized version of something we want it to be, not what it was as in reality.
Indeed from the time it was first quantified by Swiss quack Johannes Hofer in 1688 until very recently, nostalgia was considered a serious mental illness. Hofer described it as a “neurological disease of essentially demonic cause”.
Conventional wisdom posits that print media the world over is doomed. Nixed. Kaput.
Once all powerful magazine houses and newspaper publishers folded left and right all over the globe in the previous decade.
In the ocean sports realm “Surfer” magazine, monikered with the term “The Bible” amoungst the footboard brigade, closed its doors after 60 years this October.
In the boogieverse, only the benevolent grace and stubbornness of Benjamin Zebedee Player keeps the fantastic Movement mag popping up annually to feed our desires to hold something real, something not instantly disposable in our nostalgic ridden mits.
So how then to explain the almost overwhelming enthusiasm and positivity that springs forth from the boogie community whenever the idea of raising a print magazines from the dead emerges?
A recent thread in the “Modern Bodyboard Collectors” Facebook group that posed the question :
The response from the at the time of writing 160 respondents was overwhelming in the positive on desiring the return of the hand held media experience.
So what’s the G.O. Daddy O? Why, if the market place appears to be clambering for a product, does it so rarely exist?
Well here’s the dirty little secret that you probably already know about magazines; ( and other mediums like T.V) They never existed solely for your entertainment, their main purpose was to sell advertising.
The glossy pictures, the articles, the letters to the editor, the “what’s hot/ what’s not” were but a Trojan horse to get you to eyeball the advertisements interspliced between each feature.
Advertisers would buy Ad space because they saw value in using the magazine to reach their target audience.
This Ad money would pay the writers, the photographers, the printing and distribution costs and other overheads, with whatever was left over coming out as profit to the publisher.
In the world of the internets and social media businesses can directly reach their target audience audience for basically free, eliminating the need to burp up cash to a third party.
A few different models have been tried to keep magazine’s alive, from consumer subscriptions to volutionary contributions, but the reality is website content is low cost to produce, usually free to consume, and so goes the marketplace.
Our overheads here at Infoamed basically consist of the electricity needed to charge laptops and mobile phones and the dirty looks we cop from our nearest and dearest for spending to much time working on content. Accordingly, the revenue stream starts at nothing and flatlines from there.
The bodyboarding demographic isn’t the hormonal teenbag it once was, scavenging money to shell out the $3.99, $5.99, $9.99 for the latest monthly drop.
Middle aged with some disposable income is where many of us now sit.
And so it falls then that if we the masses truly desire a print experience, their going to have to pay for it. With a dirth of advertisers wanting to buy Ad space in a print magazine, all of the costs of print would need to be covered by the consumer in the purchase price.
If we want the print experience to return, it’s going to bite in your bank account.
So look at yourself hard in the mirror, stick your hands deep into pockets and ask yourself ” I am really prepared to cough up dough for what I can get for free, or is it just the nostalgia swirling in my brain telling me I want to once again hold print media in my mits?”
“How much am I willing to pay?”
Answer that honestly, and decide if print is really dead or alive.