Thursday, January 29, 2009

Domino Thoughts


Like a lot of other design bloggers, I was saddened to hear the announcement about the demise of Domino magazine yesterday. And, like many (see here and here and here for a few other reactions), it got me thinking about how the decision to cancel the website as well as the printed magazine seems to show a lack of understanding of just what the web is all about these days. Considering that much of the costs of magazine publishing is in creating a physical product (print costs, paper costs, distribution costs), why aren't more major magazines exploring the idea of online magazines? Sites like Issuu show that there's still a tremendous demand for magazines, so it seems short sighted, to say the least. So here's my idea: what about a new hybrid of Domino that's both website and virtual magazine? It would follow the lead of independent magazines that offer a limited online version plus (for a fee) the ability to download it so you can read it in full and create your own print version if you prefer. Considering the loyal (and tech savvy) following that Domino has, it seems to me that Condé Nast has squandered a remarkable opportunity. What do you think? Would you pay for an online magazine subscription to Domino?

(photo by Justin Bernhaut, May 2007 issue of Domino)

4 comments :

Jane Flanagan said...

Or - what about a website that puts out a book every year. The Domino book was met with much enthusiasm.

I wouldn't pay for an online subscription. But subscriptions are not how websites are monetized.

Display advertising on a site like this would sell at a very high CPM. Contests, sponsored microsites etc are other sources of possible revenue. All you need should need from users is time spent on your site, clicking around, which Domino is easily in a position to grow.

Cassie said...

I wouldn't pay for an online magazine. The pleasure of a magazine is holding it in your hands.

The problem for all print media now is that online advertising does not create ANYWHERE NEAR the revenue of print advertising. It doesn't matter how great or highly trafficked the site; it will not generate enough money to support the staff (which I believe is a far greater expense that the printing and distribution costs).

Are we heading towards a future of journalism as blogs — produced by skeletal staff for minimal pay? It seems that way.

automatism said...

Thanks so much, Jane and Cassie, for your thoughtful responses. It's difficult to say what the future of magazines will be, but I myself believe that as long as people continue to enjoy the tactile pleasure of reading, magazines (like books) will continue to be with us in one form or another. And as an avid magazine and book reader, hooray for that!

Lori

Danielle said...

I had only just discovered Domino magazine a couple days ago and was saddened to read on here that it's going to be discontinued :( I'm with you Lori- I love reading through a physical magazine (and a newspaper too) but I would continue to follow the magazine if it went online too...

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