A Fresh Way to Look at Your Publishing Channel Mix

According to Mike Koedinger, founder of independent media company Maison Moderne, the Print Proud, Digital Smart mantra rings true in some highly specific ways. The publisher of Paperjam, the company’s flagship print product, recently spoke to Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni about the role digital plays in their company’s business model.

“Maison Moderne’s flagship brand, Paperjam, has a powerful and unique ecosystem,” Husni explains, “and the roles of print and digital in its intense diversification strategy works (according to Mike) like this:”

  • The magazine is the credibility of the brand
  • The digital is the power (of continuous reach)
  • The club is the monetization (memberships and sponsoring)
  • The data creates the value (we know our community)
  • The B2B solutions respond to the needs of companies and decision makers

It’s pretty unusual to hear a publisher speak this concretely about the specific value of each channel to his strategy. Yet defining it in this way has helped them not only weather the storm over the last several years but grow the print title since Paperjam’s launch in 2006.  

As Koedinger explains, back in 2007 they were saying “let’s not panic. There might be reasons why print has a great future and now, 11 years later, I think it’s proven, digital was actually helping the print medium a lot.”

He does recognize, of course, that many publishers had a rough go of making the transition to a multi-channel model.

“And of course, some of them lost quite a bit, many lost money, but I think maybe that was just cleaning up the industry, maybe weak media brands in print, they would just go out of business,” he explains. “But then in this great place for new brands, digital helps a lot to promote brands and to create communities. And I think digital can bring value to a media brand, so in the end, digital would help printed media, in my opinion.”

In Paperjam’s case, this has proven true. 

“What happened was, back at that time we were publishing monthly magazines and those magazines also had a website,” Koedinger notes. “Nowadays, we publish digital daily and twice a day a newsletter goes out to a big number of people. So, we became a digital daily player that also publishes a monthly magazine.”

Does this daily digital publishing mean that online channels are more important to their business model than print revenues? Not at all. 

“Many people speak about numbers when they talk about market, it’s the media numbers. Strong players will do really well in digital growth. We have a strong digital growth, but in the meantime we also have that growth in print on the same media brand, which means the brand grows much faster,” he explains to Husni.

Having digital as part of the channel mix has been a good thing for their company.

“The good and the bad thing with digital is that you have to keep on changing, so you become more alert, you’re open to change,” he explains. 

“Maybe years ago, you thought your business model and your media brand, everything, was going well, and that you would do a relaunch every five years and that will make life fantastic,” Koedinger continues. “That is over. And I think that’s good news, because we can and we love to adapt now.”

For Koedinger, there are several good reasons why print still works in our current landscape. “One is we need a break from digital. Digital is there your entire day and night. So, we need breaks. Print also means there’s a moment when we choose to do something, there is no addiction. We happily choose to sit down, open a paper, and read it and spend time with it.”

So consider taking a page from Maison Moderne. Use each channel in your mix based on its ultimate value – digital is great at expanding audience reach when used strategically. And base your brand’s credibility in the power of print.