Physical artifacts are making a comeback in a huge way, and we have the Internet to thank for it.
“Nostalgia is having a moment. Stranger Things, a paean to the ’80s (that happened to be brilliant in its own right) is appearing on every ‘Best of 2016’ list under the sun,” writes Chris Sutcliffe in The Media Briefing. “The latest versions of Pokémon, a game franchise that began fully two decades ago, recently recorded the biggest ever European launch for Nintendo. And last week some (decidedly dodgy) headlines proclaimed that vinyl outsold digital downloads in the UK in terms of absolute spend.”
Nostalgia is nothing new…we all seem to have a longing for “the good old days,” whatever they are. But, as Sutcliffe notes, “there’s a good argument to be made that the internet has enabled the monetisation of nostalgic products to a greater extent than ever before. It has done so by easing discovery of like-minded communities around those products, by providing proof of interest via crowdfunding, and by enabling purchasing options via subscriptions and ecommerce.”
Betting on nostalgia, he adds, can be a viable business model. And this is particularly true in the luxury print market, noting Paste magazine’s relaunch of its print title that shuttered six years ago.
Paste’s editor-in-chief understands the key to succeeding in print in this age of digital collections.
“When we went out of print there were very obvious reasons that it didn’t work, and a lot of it had to do with the economy and the reliance on advertising and in the magazine industry and our model was an expensive subscription and advertising would cover the gap and when it didn’t we were an independent company and couldn’t really bear the brunt of that,” Jackson explains.
“The idea to go back into print and make it a more luxurious, less frequent product that would come four times a year and would feel like a special delivery, that model, I’ve thought for a long time would be a model our core audience would dig and would want to get behind,” he continues.
He’s spot on; we see a new kind of magazine publishing that focuses on the senses…in content, stock and imagery. Brands have begun to grasp print’s luxurious future, and in particular the touchy-feely tendencies of Millennials and Gen Xers. Print – with its velvet rope appeal — gives us, the readers, what we are craving.