Last week’s Press Gazette had a thought-provoking article on two recent, spectacularly failed magazine launches, Popworld Pulp and So London (the web sites are, at this moment, still up). Neither of these magazines launched with digital editions. The PG article is only available to subscribers, but there is a summary on the PG’s open web site.
Development Hell’s music magazine, The Word, is cited as a good example of the way a new magazine can grow from a conservative launch to become an established title in a highly competitive area. They have a brilliant quote from Jerry Perkins publisher of The Word:
We knew there were several gaps in the market, but obviously you need to make sure that there is a market in the gap.
This is a motto that should be written, in 36 point, at the top of every new magazine launch plan. Such a launch plan must, in 2007, also start with the web strategy. How does the web site complement the print product? And of key importance: the magazine’s founders should explain how the digital edition will be used (whether to maximise consumer awareness, subscriptions or advertiser responses). If the business plan does not convince on those grounds, the financial backers should immediately pull away.