A Fresh, Sane Look at the Print Vs. Digital Debate

[responsive]sph-magazines[/responsive]SPH Magazines in Singapore has a revamped business model, and they aren’t shy about going public with the reasoning behind it.

“Clearly the old publishing model no longer works,” writes SPH’s Gloria Arlini in INMA’s Keynote Blog. “Magazines cannot survive simply by offering paid ad spaces to brands. And fighting a “headwind of digital disruption,” publishers, as Arlini notes, need to dig deep and find the nerve to transform the way they do business.

She posits that this leaves only two choices for magazine publishers looking to thrive:

“We can resolutely believe in the power of print and make print ads more attractive — experimenting with creative print executions, give more editorial support, boosting our titles’ visibility through strategic partnerships. In short, offer continuous innovation,” Arlini says. “Or we can revamp the whole business model — accept that print is not the be-all and the end-all, develop non-print platforms, and repackage our offerings to remain relevant to our partners.”

“The fact remains even today that magazines serve two masters: readers and advertisers. More specifically, we act as a bridge between the two entities — reaching them wherever they are, understanding their needs, and delivering a satisfying solution that meaningfully brings both together,” Arlini continues.

It’s the second approach, the disruption paradigm, that informs SPH’s new business model, and it starts by asking three critical questions:

  • Whom do we serve?
  • Who else is in the landscape?
  • What is it really that we bring to the table?

With thoughtful and realistic answers to these questions, publishers can partner with their advertisers in ways that enhance the brand both in print and digitally.

“A brand campaign should be able to reach out to its target audience at any time of the day — whether they are taking a quick browse on mobile while commuting, leisurely browsing on tablet at night, catching a post-lunch read on their desktop, or flipping the glossy at the dental clinic,” Arlini explains.  “Also, it is important to offer them a consistent user experience which they have come to expect of a particular magazine title.”

As one of Asia’s leading publishers, SPH knows and promotes the power of the printed magazine as the cornerstone of a solid brand. And their innovative approach to partnering with advertisers while keeping their eye clearly on their reader sounds level-headed and insightful, with a focus on maintaining the brand’s quality and delivering a high editorial experience.