Dylan Jones, the long-standing editor of GQ, believes there has been a “genuine sea change” lately in how consumers look at the value of good journalism.
At a recent UK media summit, Jones spoke on what he’s seeing in the industry.
“I think something real is happening,” said Jones, as quoted by Freddy Mayhew in the UK’s Press Gazette.
“I look at the amazing figures that the New York Times has had and the success the Guardian is having with their model and the huge equity that’s in play with the Mirror buying the Express newspaper – we are turning the corner,” he continued.
That corner, he explains, is a realization that quality journalism isn’t free, and it’s worth paying for and seeking out.
GQ, who has been actively developing a multi-channel revenue stream, maintains a firm grasp on where their biggest brand value lies.
“The content is the magazine,” he explained to the audience. “All those platforms that have huge reach are marketing for us – a little bit of content but mostly marketing.
We are seeing a sea change, with more publishers like GQ getting paid content right. The shift away from ad-supported digital content to paid content models is gaining momentum. Witness the New York Times’ focus on subscriptions and what that means for publishers. Their once heavily ad-based publishing business model is now driven more by subscription goals than ad sign-ups.
They aren’t alone. The Financial Times joins the growing number of media outlets that are gaining paid readerships at record clips.
It’s fascinating, really. Prior to the last two years of fake news and social media ridiculousness, many felt that Facebook et. al. spelled the death of true journalism. That idea was supported by the throngs of media brands that fell over themselves to give away their content.
In reality, journalism and print magazines can be grateful for the war on media. Rather than journalism’s decline, we are seeing a renaissance of the trade, as consumers become more aware of the dangers of relying on the news feed and instead seek out quality reporting.
For brands like GQ, there’s finally some clarity in how to approach the multi-channel brand experience. As Jones put it so well, digital is for marketing; print is for the real content.