David Hepworth on the traditional publishing industry’s performance in light of The Magazine’s (and other digital-native content’s) emphasis on steak over sizzle:
If they were honest with themselves, they might look at their own declining circulation figures and reach the conclusion that what they have traditionally considered exciting material no longer has the same sway over people that it once had.
I would argue that traditional “exciting” material never truly was all that exciting. Instead, it was, and is, simply eye-catching. The sizzle is designed to sell magazines and other publications to people who aren’t really that interested in magazines in the first place. It’s why you don’t see something like The New Yorker on magazine racks in the checkout lane (at least I never have). People who want that sort of high-quality, thoughtful content seek it out.
On the Internet, the grocery checkout rack sensationalism is available for free, anytime, anywhere. People on the web are now at the point where a growing number are seeking out the content, not just impulse-buying as they surf by. The shift seems to be that with recent developments in the app economy, those seekers are now willing to also become subscribers. Not only are they looking for good content, they are willing to pay.
Via: Marco Arment