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The Rate of Change in Multiplatform Publishing is Accelerating

What have you been up to in multiplatform publishing for the last year or two?

There’s a quote out there from Jonathan MacDonald I heard recently at an IMAG event that says, the rate of change you’re experiencing now represents the slowest rate of technological and societal change you are likely to experience in the rest of your life. So if you’re thinking that change in multiplatform publishing has been fast so far, you haven’t seen anything yet. It’s accelerating!

For example, five years ago, publishers hadn’t even envisioned concepts like web magazines, which allow them to create digital interfaces for magazines that aren’t constrained to an app store, but work on any device. And now, we have about fifteen of them we’ve developed for clients.

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Let’s take a moment to visit the timeline of this acceleration in multiplatform publishing.

Mainz, Germany, 1439: Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith, invents movable type technology. This launches the information age, and the use of the printing press all over Europe even leads to a name for the new information media, the press.

Germany, 1663: The Western world’s first magazine, Edifying Monthly Discussions, is published. The magazine industry is born.

It took 224 years for an entrepreneur to harness the printing press for generating what we now know as magazines, and create an entire new industry.

London, England, June 20, 1981: The Economist mentions the World Wide Web in an article about CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research).

United States, Aug. 12, 1981: IBM releases its first personal computer.

United States, Oct. 27, 1994: The first commercial magazine website, HotWired, is launched by Wired magazine. The digital magazine publishing industry is born.

It took 13 years for the magazine industry to jump on the computer bandwagon.

California, United States, April 3, 2010: Apple releases the revolutionary new iPad.

United States, May 26, 2010: Wired magazine’s iPad edition goes live and sells 24,000 copies in the first 24 hours. Condé Nast is only slightly behind Wired. The digital magazine publishing industry is born again.

It took 53 days for the magazine industry to begin leveraging the iPad.

United States, Jan. 17, 2013: Forrester announces that in the three years since the iPad was released, 200 million tablets had been sold worldwide. By contrast, they note, it took the laptop 10 years to sell 27 million units.

United States, April 9, 2013: The iPad newsstand included 8,419 magazine apps. Amazon, creator of the Kindle tablet, had 609 magazine apps.

It took 3 years for the magazine industry to make digital magazine apps as readily available as any other product on the market today.

United States, August 14, 2014: Mequoda and Prime Media announce they’ve launched what they believe to be the industry’s first-ever website magazine – a complete turnaround from the long-held industry belief that readers would never consume typical magazine content on a desktop or laptop computer.

2015 was the first time we saw another magazine with a new web magazine, who was also leveraging their archives, and that magazine was TIME. Since then, we’ve seen many more pop up.

It took 1 year or less for the magazine industry to take advantage of responsive design and begin leveraging their digital archives in web editions.

Now in 2017 we’re seeing publishers more finely tune their digital editions, both app and web. The first few years, digital replicas flooded the digital magazine app markets, which turned away consumers from subscribing to them. But web editions have become not only more elegant, but more accessible. The only benefit app magazines have over web editions is that the content is available offline, but how often are people unconnected these days?

In fact, if you don’t have a web magazine, you’re officially behind now. If you don’t want to stay behind, keep reading Mequoda Daily. Since our job is to monitor and document best practices and direct marketing, you’re likely to hear about it here first. And if you want to get started on your web magazine and keep your publishing business ahead of the curve, let’s schedule a time to talk. 

Leave a comment below and tell us: what have you been up to, and what’s next for your brand?

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