Mobile Revolution: Is ShowMaging Next

Showmaging Art Forum

I love Artforum Magazine. The magazine is a work of art itself. It is an over sized glossy the likes of which will be gone soon. We can’t afford to put print on paper.

The magazine and newspaper business models are being crushed by more than costs vs. revenue politics. Here is the real culprit (your Smart Phone):

Mobile Print Killers

Mobile Print Killers

Yesterday I sat in Barnes & Noble and took pictures of the articles I wanted to look up on my laptop. In what may be the first example of “showmaging” I used my iPhone to consume Artforum in a way consistent with how I live.

I don’t passively consume anything. I look to spin, snip and alter anything and everything.

The Smart Move For Magazines & Newspapers

Magazines and newspapers have been many things for the last ten years “smart” is rarely among them. First they tried to force the web to walk and talk like print. Next they tried to charge for content we are too used to getting free to ever comfortably go back to paying (we will simply do without or do with something else).

Finally in the last act of the truly desperate the largest publishers tried to use a “pay for subscription” model. None of these options have helped nor will they. NEWS as a product is way too much of a commodity to afford more than a “micro-payments” model (Harvard Business Review is a great demonstration of this change a small fee for robust content people are willing to pay for).

Newspapers suffer from their main product, news, becoming a commodity AND from their broad focus. Trying to cover everything is a losing proposition because the costs of even aggregation exceed potential return.

What if….

What if publishers stopped thinking of their customers as witless robots who need their food digested for them and embraced the idea that the mob is sentient and willing to help. What if print publishers became more willing to share.

I know every publisher reading this is having hives as they read, but the old product is GONE, a zombie walking the earth. Why not begin testing a new product, one capable of getting active consumers, writers, bloggers, artist and even mom and dad EXCITED about your product once again.

Here are some ways print publishers could embrace “showmaging”:

  • Put QR codes on your pages.
  • Create platforms where WE can contribute OUR takes on your takes.
  • Hold contests rewarding cool interpretations of your product in different media (web, video, mashups).
  • Gamify your consumption so your customer’s takes on your published material is rewarded and prized.
  • Think each page as the beginning of a DIGITAL conversation (ads too).
  • Don’t accept ads that are boring just because the pay well.

This last idea speaks to the new publisher as quality gatekeeper and filter. We don’t need editors to tell us how to think, but help cutting down the BABBLE coming at us everyday would be great especially if this filtering can be accomplished in an almost one-to-one highly relevant way.

If print publishers would embrace “showmaging” instead of hording many new revenue options would fall from the tree such as:

  • The DATA – once you have involved “consumers” pinning and reposting your content you will now SO MUCH MORE about US (your customers). Knowing people that intimately, as Facebook proves, is many multiples more valuable than what print publishers are doing now (printing and then not listening).
  • The GAMES – when you pit an amateur against each other guess what they do? They tell their friends and advertise for you.
  • The Legitimacy – Print publishers should be leading resources for startups and cool new products. That kind of consulting service is VALUABLE just ask Forrester, McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group.

The good news for print publishers is they have little to lose. Yes that is the bad news too, but why not reach for greatness and fail instead of continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result?

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