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Are Performance-Boat Magazines Dead?

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Old 03-22-2011, 11:08 AM
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Only an idiot would argue that Google isn't incredibly successful. However, Google is first and foremost a search engine. It is not what you'd call a content site, as are the online versions of the Journal and other print media sources.

You're right, Jupe, infornation is going more and more online. I can't telll you how much basic fact-checking I do (although you have to watch it because there's often conflicing information ... Wikipedia flat out sucks in that regard) online.

Trust me, I'm bullish on the Internet. It's provided more than half of my income for the past 11 years and likely will provide even more than that as it continues to evolve. But there are still plenty of people who enjoy print, and some of them—a lot more than than the 20-somethings who will never read anything that isn't digital—are of the age and means to buy performance boats.

Now, when that generation dies, you might just be onto something ...
I work with computers all day long, every day. We have digitized our business over the last 5-6 years from being 100% hard copy in 2005 to 99% internet based soft copy at this time. YES it gets the information to the customer faster. But the biggest gain we have seen is in COST. Dollars. It is MUCH cheaper even with full time 24/7/365 IT guys on call to keep our network up to deliver our product digitally. We don't have the high expenses of hard copy production and storage anymore. I wish other industries out there would be at least be honest about this and quit all this talk about "you get it faster, whenever you want, night or day...". All that is true, I'm not saying it isn't or that those aren't powerful gains. But the biggest reason, at least for us, was COST.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:24 AM
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I work with computers all day long, every day. We have digitized our business over the last 5-6 years from being 100% hard copy in 2005 to 99% internet based soft copy at this time. YES it gets the information to the customer faster. But the biggest gain we have seen is in COST. Dollars. It is MUCH cheaper even with full time 24/7/365 IT guys on call to keep our network up to deliver our product digitally. We don't have the high expenses of hard copy production and storage anymore. I wish other industries out there would be at least be honest about this and quit all this talk about "you get it faster, whenever you want, night or day...". All that is true, I'm not saying it isn't or that those aren't powerful gains. But the biggest reason, at least for us, was COST.
Speed is yet another advantage the Internet provides is speed. For example, I need photos of the Cigarette 50' Marauder I'm writing about for Boats.com. When I started writing for a news paper 25 years ago, the company would have had to ship me a printed photo of or slide so we could make a color separation of it, which in turn would be used in the printing process. Instead, today I'll go to an FTP site with a user-name and password and download five or six high-resolution digital images, suitable for online or print use, in a few minutes. A few minutes later, they'll be headed to the publisher (in this case a web site) along with my story. Also attached will be my invoice.

Researching, interviewing and writing still take time—not much in the way of shortcuts happening there. But filing stories and photos has gone from taking days to taking minutes.

Another thing to consider: My phone used to ring off the hook. Now I only use it for interviews and keeping in touch with family and friends. Most of my professional communication is done through email.

Technology, and that includes the Internet has enabled me to do my job far more efficiently—from just about anywhere.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:49 AM
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Speed is yet another advantage the Internet provides is speed. For example, I need photos of the Cigarette 50' Marauder I'm writing about for Boats.com. When I started writing for a news paper 25 years ago, the company would have had to ship me a printed photo of or slide so we could make a color separation of it, which in turn would be used in the printing process. Instead, today I'll go to an FTP site with a user-name and password and download five or six high-resolution digital images, suitable for online or print use, in a few minutes. A few minutes later, they'll be headed to the publisher (in this case a web site) along with my story. Also attached will be my invoice.

Researching, interviewing and writing still take time—not much in the way of shortcuts happening there. But filing stories and photos has gone from taking days to taking minutes.

Another thing to consider: My phone used to ring off the hook. Now I only use it for interviews and keeping in touch with family and friends. Most of my professional communication is done through email.

Technology, and that includes the Internet has enabled me to do my job far more efficiently—from just about anywhere.
The speed of transfer of images and text has been a great help to us as well. We also bought and maintain our own servers and lease space on them to smaller companies for additional income.

But as far as the magazine industry is concerned, there will always be a place for the "digest" type article which is not meant to be read at a stoplight. The radio did not put Time and Newsweek out of business. Those sources allow for a careful, considered read of current events (I highly recommend "2045 - The Year Man Becomes Immortal" Time 2/11/2011) for those who want to know more about an event than just the fact that it happened.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:14 PM
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There will always be need for print until I get a computer in my crapper....
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:48 PM
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MULTI PLATFORMED!
Not the IT type but the MEDIA type. This was part of the conversation over dinner a few years ago when the thought of selling OSO first came up. The question was asked and I recommended two options. Option One. Call Internet Brands, Option Two, Multi platform the site. Coupled with print media, television, social networking, apparel, and even gaming to spread the brand and leverage the advert dollars already being spent.

I believe it was a big mistake for one of the then strong print media types to not have bought OSO. While many have tried it will nearly impossible to attract the critical mass needed to overcome OSO in such a narrow market and the cost to capture audience is so cheap there is nowhere else to turn.

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Old 03-22-2011, 12:55 PM
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But as far as the magazine industry is concerned, there will always be a place for the "digest" type article which is not meant to be read at a stoplight. The radio did not put Time and Newsweek out of business. Those sources allow for a careful, considered read of current events (I highly recommend "2045 - The Year Man Becomes Immortal" Time 2/11/2011) for those who want to know more about an event than just the fact that it happened.
My case in point:
I read that article online about a month ago and paper never touched my fingers. Journalism and media aren't going anywhere, just the delivery method.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:56 PM
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There will always be need for print until I get a computer in my crapper....
Hey, it's called a laptop for a reason!
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:00 PM
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Isn't Sportboat Gregg Mansfields new mag?
Gregg did a great job on the first issue and I don't know why he's no longer involved, but I'm now the Editor In Chief and hope to be in that position for the long term.
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:26 PM
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I am a big fan of magazines including powerboat. But I seem to keep them forever and they are starting to pile up pretty high so I am looking into one of the ebook things most likely the nook for the color display. I would be very happy to see powerboat in that type of format. Most likely the ebook would have it's own holder in the crapper.
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Old 03-22-2011, 03:24 PM
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I think the demise of printed media is over exaggerated and I believe printed magazines are coveted by performance boaters to this day. Any arguments go the Miami/Los Angeles boat show and 90% of the people leaving will have a magazine tucked into some kind of bag.

Second, from an advertising standpoint the vendors still want printed medium not just flash banners on websites. Last time I checked this is the driving force behind magazines and content. If the day comes where the online outfit can provide better results. There might be a shift but until that time comes. The online source will just be secondary authority and supplemental to the printed media.

Third, magazine content is far different from the online content whose source can be dubious or difficult to find. If a buyer looks to online forums for their primary information they should consider a game of russian roulette. Whereas advertisements with printed contact, reviews and real water testing capture the buyers interest on multiple occassions i.e...everytime they open the magazine and show a friend, spouse or confidant. Versus going to a computer and visiting a website. It is far easier to say hey take a look at this magazine review... and hand the person the magazine. Old school you say Yes! but still very powerful.

Furthermore, it is rare that accomplished and experienced members of the performance boating building communities ever venture online to discuss the latest in product development. I always strongly urge them never to come into a public forum for any reason. Why, it is too easy to get slaughtered by a disgruntled person or even an envious competitor. One bad internet session can really hurt your business in a manner where you might not ever recover. Note: We all know this has happenned in this forum on numerous occassions.

Thus, the magazine and printed media will continue and it's page count maybe down but the real players understand the game and will continue accepting subscriptions for many years to come.

KAP

Last edited by kap328; 03-22-2011 at 03:27 PM.
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