Tuesday, 13 January 2009

URGENT: The Domino Effect: The Future of Magazines and Blogging

It has been reported today in The Huffington Post that there is trouble brewing over at Domino Magazine. Now I realize that this may be bloggers' most loved mag, but there could come a day very soon when it actually disappears from the newsstand. The economy is hitting magazines hard and ad revenue is down at Domino. I read on a blog somewhere this week (sorry I can't recall the source) that 'they just got their new copy of Domino and were so disappointed that it was so thin'. Now is not the time to look for a job in traditional media. I can only imagine the uncertain times and stress that must fill the offices of magazines.

It is my opinion that magazines will soon become blogs and existing design blogs will have to create their own original content and photographs or they will slip away into Internet heaven. You see, once a big company must take their magazine solely online, they are not going to allow 'Joe Design Blogger' to snap up their photos for free. They will go head to head against all the little guys - threatening letters will be sent from corporate lawyers - lawsuits will probably begin - these are the times we live and publish in. The big dogs will be nudging their way into blogland to win ad dollars. They will be watching copyright very closely. Bloggers Beware!

You heard it here first. (or maybe not) Start creating your very own original content or your blog will be gone overnight like many of the magazines. They will force you out.

"Domino’s circulation has doubled in the nearly four years since its launch, to 850,000. But ad pages for the title have stalled, a victim of both the broader economic decline and challenges in the housing market. Meredith Corp.’s Country Home, Hearst Magazines’ O at Home and Hachette Filipacchi Media’s Home have shuttered since last fall. Last year, Domino’s ad pages shrank 5 percent, to 692." - WWWDMedia

UPDATE: Seth Godin on 'When Newspapers are Gone'. Worth the Read via Perk.


Pigtown-Design said...

There was a great blogger (can't remember the name now) who did beautiful posts, but then she had some issues with copyright and took her blog down.

It always annoys me when you see some of the design mags reprinted almost verbatim on some blogs. Get some creativity!

Patricia Gray said...

It will be very interesting indeed to see how 2009 unfolds in the Blogging world. You have raised a good point!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I started out to be a snow white design blog only...but I drifted. I found I enjoyed writing more than reporting. I do love my design blogs, but there's nothing like a magazine hiding in the mailbox for me.

magnaverde said...

If what we know as magazines go totally digital, for people like me, who want to see lots of pictures of lots of stuff spread out on the desktop--a real desktop--at the same time, not as images shrunken down to a bunch of teensy jpegs piled atop each other in a bunch of overlapping digital windows, it will be a huge loss. Gimme glossy paper!

On the other hand, that sort of switch can only be good for the Internet. My all-time favorite magazine was House & Garden but their so-called website sucked, and House Beautiful isn't much better, even though there's a lot more online content than there was before Erin Dailey gave them a decent online identity, which identity was previously mawkish & embarrassing. But they can still do better.

So, yeah, magazines need to get their digital act together. But their imminent arrival online--arrival in a bigger, better form, that is--can't but help winnow the current bumper crop of lazy cut-&-paste bloggers. I must have seen the identical "sneak preview" of one of last year's issues of Domino on half the blogs out there, each one of which had probably been pitched as though they were getting an exclusive from their secret special friend on the inside. Right. Traditional publishing's full of big-hearted folk who, out of the goodness of their hearts, love to share the wealth with all their online friends.

What a shock, then, for those poor, gullible bloggers to wake up the next morning & find that what they thought was their own very big scoop was, instead, splattered all over the front page of every other decorating & design blog out there. What a fiasco, kind of like the year every woman at the Oscars showed up in the exact same designer dress. Bad for them, but what a brilliant coup for the guy behind the stunt, not in a future dress-sales way, of course, but in the marketing & publicity way, certainly. Big time.

Anyway, what I want from a blog is not a bunch of pretty pictures that I already have sitting in my magazine rack or a sneak preview of the new fabric collection by the Designer-of-the-Century du jour, but a voice & a viewpoint & a broad view of the big picture, of which decorating is just an ephemeral manisfestation, like the foam on a wave on the sea. The best blogs treat design & decorating in exactly that way, so I can't imagine that the arrival online of the Big Guys will change their very individual voices & viewpoints a bit. At least, I hope not. Magnaverde.

Cote de Texas said...

ooh. let them try. you can't put the genie back in the bottle once you've let it out. their images are free to take now, how could they possibly take them back? doesn't seem like they could. maybe with content from one point onward, but still, blogs are great ads for mags - online, digital or not. period. they need us as much as we need them. just because they go online doesn't mean that relationship has to end. it's like bloggers now - we all share the same photos and it works out fine. the online mags will want readers just the same. they will need advertising just the same. not sure the death knell for design blogs has been rung. AND - truthfully there is such a plethora of design mags out there - a little weeding out won't hurt anything. with all these readers out there and potentional clients - I can't see every single magazine going out of business. there's would be too much money left on the table. great great great post and points!

corine @ hidden in france said...

I love cote de texas genie in the bottle metaphor, but unfortunately I think Liberty is right. I still can't believe the smorgasbord the internet is. I do love holding real magazines in my hands but have no longer the patience to wait, the desire to pay ,or the tolerance for wasting paper on dumb advertising.

Original content is going to be key indeed. I better learn to take a picture, quick.

coco+kelley said...

nothing compares to holding a magazine in your hand and flipping through it... you can't do that on a laptop on a plane, by the pool... people need to unplug sometimes. i hope that magazines realize that bloggers need them as much as they can also benefit from relationships with blogs!

also, just a side note, domino just appointed a new senior VP & publishing director (William Wackermann) who holds the same role at Glamour... we'll see what happens with some new energy in their offices!

victoria thorne said...

More original content never hurt anyone, did it?

Isn't that what art is about...what design strives for...what we need?

I think--I hope--the strong (i.e., those who deliver original content, those who create art) will survive. In print and online. Those who cut and paste and parrot are probably not long for this world. Marvell said it a few hundred years ago: "Had we but world enough, and time..."

Di Overton said...

I don't know what our magazines in the UK will do because they don't even seem to know that bloggers exist.

Lindsey said...

You've brought up such interesting points. I too am very anxious to see where the magazine industry goes over the next few years. I agree that blogging has become the "new" magazine. As a blogger, graphic designer and photographer myself there is still nothing that beats the tangible + low-tech joy of a magazine in your mailbox and nights pouring over its pages.

Thanks for a great post!

{ Lindsey }

Linda Lou said...

We also lost Cottage Living-how funny this morning my husband said to me--why is this newspaper so thin---maybe its time to cancel our subscription to the Union-Tribune! I said we can't do that, its a morning ritual to read the newspaper while we drink our cappucino's, he said we'll just read it on-line----NOOOOOO!! What is happening. We can blog, yet still have something tangible in our hands.

Bill said...

Interesting riff on the demise of newspapers from Seth Godin: http://tinyurl.com/7x59wj


cartolina said...

Great post and interesting thoughts. I personally don't enjoy blogs that just repeat everything they see each month in the magazines - very boring. So I, for one, will be happy to see less magazine content in blogs.
Thanks for this - really enjoying your blog by the way!

Anonymous said...

I don't tink that blogging will ever replace magazines... Anyway I love to feel there lovely pages and photos!!!Let's see what 2009 brings us, I tink blogging is taken more more as a true forme of communication each day!!