The Digital Magazines blog has a notice on the newly launched Jellyfish from the UK’s National Magazines. This is a free e-magazine aimed at the teenage girl market. It uses a similar technology platform, Ceros with Flash, to Dennis’s Monkey. John Weir’s blog notes:
Like Monkey, it is based on the Ceros system, with lots of video, audio content and web links. Among the things I liked were the “click to rotate” feature on the shopping pages, and the fact that it links directly to a number of social media sites like Bebo and MySpace. Additionally, the magazine has marketed itself by producing behind the scenes videos for YouTube.
Only problem is the advertising – on which this publication will stand or fall. Only Garnier have supported the launch issue, and for the magazine to gain any traction, they will need more support from big name brands.
Advertising is certainly the problem, if it does not come through to support the proposition.
But it is also doubtful whether such new vehicles, even when backed by sufficient advertising, can possibly be the solution that the magazine industry is looking for. These interactive packages, using Flash, are not the magazine. The magazine is not getting a web presence, at best the audience is being projected an associated brand presence and a new media venture. If the new media venture works, there is still a question about what happens to the magazines — should they gracefully retire from the web and abdicate any interest in developing a digital audience? Or should they still aim to develop a web edition and associated advertising, in which case they have created a competitor targeted at their own audience? Much more interesting and potentially fruitful for the magazine industry is the technology Seadragon, brilliantly showcased by Microsoft with a digital edition of the Guardian here. Print ads, which in their web presence could contain amazing, microscopic detail and interactivity will rejuvenate the value of branded advertising on the web. Print advertisements in their myriad digital instances would become referral agents for the major consumer brands. The punch would be packed in the zoomable fine print of the digital ad. Such ads would be using magazines (legitimately) as a Trojan horse to attract readers to the deep and interactive ad which cannot of course be printed in any magazine. But the magazine is a valid gateway and the demographics of each different magazine audience work to the benefit of the consumer brand, and the advertising agency, which can assemble its interactive audience as it sees fit. See yesterday’s blog for more on the Microsoft technology.