A magazine is about much more than content…it’s the entire reading experience.
“Online or mobile magazines are not real. It’s only real if you can touch it, feel it, throw it across the room,” says Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni, quoted in an article by Shareena Patel in Print Power.
Patel reminds us of Husni’s considerable clout in the industry, noting that “Forbes magazine called him ‘America’s leading magazine expert.’” And he’s unabashedly an evangelist of print magazines as a highly effective advertising and marketing medium.
“Advertising has yet to find a better environment in which to engage with consumers than in the pages of a print magazine,” he explains to Patel. “Nobody talks as much as we in the magazine industry do about our own demise. But print will endure, just as radio and TV has. Print ad revenues bypassed radio in 1935, and television bypassed radio in 1955, yet radio is still relevant for consumers and advertisers.”
What he’s seeing now is a lifting, according to Patel, of the doom and gloom atmosphere that has pervaded much of the industry the past several years. He urges industry leaders to focus on the one simple truth – that a magazine is much more than content.
“It’s about the experience,” Husni asserts, noting that this is what the industry must focus on to continue to evolve.
That idea of evolution shouldn’t scare off publishers because it’s what the industry has always done.
“Over the next 10 years, we’re going to see higher cover prices and more high-end experiences in magazines,” he says. “But we are also going to continue to see the diversity of print. At one end of the market you’ll have extremely collectable, very expensive, unique magazines that are maybe 1,000 print run, very limited edition. But at the other end you’ll also still have the mass market magazines, only they’ll have adjusted to what the audience wants and provide a curated experience for the reader that they can’t get on other platforms.”
And he’s clear on why the magazine experience isn’t translatable to digital.
“It’s not the same, because it’s not real. It’s only real if you can touch it, feel it, throw it across the room, whatever,” he said to Patel.
“Nobody comes to my house and says ‘Oh, can I look at your iPad so I can read your copy of GQ?’ But they pick up GQ without even asking me, because it’s on my coffee table, it looks beautiful, it’s something that draws you in.”
His perspective is not based on some whimsical reminiscence of the past, but on the solid allure that a printed magazine has for readers. And it’s this allure that continues to be a huge benefit to advertisers, who are fast becoming disenchanted with digital ads, and consumers who want the experience they can only get in print.
Next time you pick up a magazine, pay attention to how you’re reading it, ads and all. That’s the experience that no digital screen is going to replicate.