Shift to digital


AS a journalism student I used to relish getting copies of Asia Magazine as a pullout supplement of a national daily – the Manila Chronicle, if I am not mistaken.

Budget—permitting, I used to buy Newsweek and Time magazine, especially for their incisive coverage of momentous events like the 9-11 terror attack, which happened just days before my second child was born. I bought special editions of both magazines as historical keepsakes.

For me, magazines have always been the source of high-quality articles and pictures, thus it was with much dismay that I read here on ConceptCentral the closure of the glossy magazine editions of the six remaining publications of the Gokongwei group.

I was hacking it out as a sportswriter with the Manila Times under the Gokongwei umbrella when they rolled out their first magazines, including FHM and Preview and later on Cosmopolitan and Candy.

Just recently, a friend told me their company is buying into another magazine outfit and I asked why buy at this point in time when the shift to digital form has thrown the industry into disarray, with many unable to monetize their respective digital platform.

The answer, of course, is that the readership of digital content will soon realize that they will have to pay a premium for premium news and magazine contents. The platforms may change from print to digital but there will remain a constant in the delivery of content to readers.

That constant is the cost of production, including keeping a sizeable editorial and information technology teams and the necessary infrastructures – servers, etc. – to keep the digital platforms humming.

The readers of digital platforms will be more discerning and they will know they have to subscribe one way to ensure the continuity of the sources of their good read. Meanwhile, the bell is also now tolling for the print edition of newspapers.