Not only was it a brutal month for the economy, but for print media as well. As October drew to a close, the Christian Science Monitor announced that it was discontinuing its daily paper edition, changing it to a weekly paper edition and publishing daily updates to its website. In addition, PaidContent.org announced that my former company, Time Inc, would be restructuring a number of major titles into the News Business Unit, while the NYTime.com forecast that Time Inc would shed 600 jobs because of the move. On top of that, Conde Nast will scale back the number of issues it publishes for Portfolio and Men’s Vogue.
So what are newspaper and magazine companies to do? Here are two ideas that could reinvigorate the business:
1) QR Codes: This past July, while attending the IAB Mexico event, I met some folks from Codilink, who put together QR code, or two dimensional bar code, promotions for their clients. They showed me an issue of a sports magazine from Mexico that featured QR codes on every advertising page of the magazine. What does the QR code do? Place your cell phone’s camera lens above the QR code to read and receive a coupon, reminder, or other special offer from the advertiser on your cell phone. Voila! Measurable print or outdoor media. Marketers can even put a QR code on a T-Shirt as the Codilink folks showed me. If I were Time Inc, I would consider offering this measurability for clients.
Check out this site to make your own QR code, which I made for my blog here.
2) Customized Content Delivery: Take a look at Time Inc’s new division MagHound. It’s a NetFlix for magazine readers: choose a different set of magazines to read every month, in other words a customizable group of titles to be delivered to your door. Great idea. Next question is, why should I receive every section of the Wall Street Journal, for example, when really I want to receive more information about the media business and local news in New York City and eliminate all of the stock market details which I can find in real time on WSJ.com? Customizable print publications anyone?
FYI – Here is a YouTube video with more info about how the QR code works….