Essay Trends And Strategies


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Essay Trends And Strategies

  1. 1. Essay <br />“How does the old magazine format differs from the new magazine format?”<br />-147320280035<br />Trends and Strategies in the creative business <br />Elske Joustra<br />Sanne Jansen<br />Stefanie van der Flier<br />Priscilla Bossaert<br />“How does the old magazine format differs from the new magazine format?”<br />As the lives of women changed over time, women’s magazines have also changed. The focus of magazines on women as housewives and family caretakers has switched towards the approach of the ‘New Woman’, who has a career and is financially independent (Gough-Yates 2003: 3). Nowadays not only married women are a target for the consumer market and publishers, but also teenagers that want to wear the latest fashion. These changes in approach and creation of new markets did not happen from one day to another. On one hand advertising companies paid carefully attention in changes of cultural practices and traditions of family life but on the other hand new technologies influenced these practices and traditions (Croteau & Hoynes 2003: 321). The last twenty-five years the magazine industry has made some mature changes in the form, production and consumption of the media. One of the greater causes of these changes is the rise of new media. The main focus of this essay is;<br /> “How does the old magazine format differs from the new magazine format?” <br />We will look at the developments women’s magazines have made. First we discuss briefly the milestones in history that women’s magazines have gone through. After that we will discuss the influence of the new media on the traditional format of the magazine. And we will end with a vision upon, how new media will influence the magazine format in the future. <br />A retrospective view upon the history of women’s magazinesThe first American, British and French women’s magazines date from the 19th century, in the Netherlands this industry started up a bit later, the first Dutch magazines were published in the 1920’s. Magazines back then were only for the elite that were educated and could read. In the United States as well as Europe the real break-through of these magazines was not until the 1950’s (<br />Until the 1950’s the publishing developments of women’s magazines were slow, there were only around twenty-five titles of weekly and monthly magazines. The main reason for these slow developments was the shortage on paper due to the Second World War. Clothes of Dior and Chanel presented in the magazines were even still on coupons (Braithwaite 1995: 63). The themes in these magazines were domestic, because girls grew up, had a little bit of fun and then got married and had children. It was not the norm that women worked, especially not in middle class families (ibid.: 73). <br />The first British magazine that did not concentrate on shopping, cleaning and cooking and was different than other magazines was: Nova. This magazine was launched in 1965 and was the first magazine for ‘the new kind of woman’, who was designated as intelligent, thinking and worldly. Nova was sensational and trendsetting for its time, the magazine played with pictures, layout and typography and had actual articles in it, something that was not shown in women’s magazines before (ibid: 79-82). In the Netherlands the first women’s magazine out of the norm was the feminist magazine Opzij, which had its first issue published in the 1970’s.<br />Around these times the publishing business also discovered new markets, like for example the teenage market. A survey from a market research company about the spending habits of teenagers was in Great Britain the motive for publishers to target this new group. Popular magazines for young females, between 16 and 24 years old, that launched those years were; Honey, 19 and Jackie. Especially Honey was a popular magazine and opened even stores (ibid.: 88). Another innovation of publishing companies during the 70’s was the give-away magazine that targeted a specific group, like for example young working girls. These magazines were mostly handed out at railway stations and the subway (ibid: 115).The vibrant times for the magazine industry were definitely the 80’s, more than 50 titles were launched and others died. Merges of publishing companies took place and the smaller companies could not keep up with the larger ones anymore (ibid.: 145).<br />Through the years the women’s magazines have made some mature changes. Nowadays there are no taboos anymore and the cover as well as the inside looks more colorful than before. Over time, the target group for the magazine has shifted from housewife to the woman who has a career or the teenage girl who loves the latest trends, the magazines might still engage to some of the same subjects as they did in the 60’s, fashion is for example still a popular topic. The difference can be seen in the approach of these different subjects. The content has to be more practical, shorter and faster. Clothing for example, has to be beautiful but also practical, homemade dinners have to look nice but also quick to make ( These changes the last twenty years in the form, production and consumption of media have all been influenced with the rise of new media technologies.But what are these new media that shape the magazine format? Instead of traditional media, which is the media that relied primarily upon print and analog broadcast models, such as television and radio, new media is totally different. New media is a term meant to point out the emergence of digital, computerized and communication technologies, like the internet. (Manovich, 2003: 13-25). There are a lot of theories written about what kind of new media technologies new media are. We will only highlight the ones who are relevant for answering our central question of this essay. <br />The rise of new media is a result of the evolution of the new media technologies, electronic media. Electronic media leads to the fact that instantaneous communication and interaction can be carried out over far distance. This evolution of new media is called globalization. Globalization is generally stated by B. Thomson as: " more than expansion of activities beyond the boundaries of particular nation states" . (Thompson, 1995: 150)<br />This means that globalization shortens the distance between people all over the world, so people are not limited by physical proximity anymore. These technological abilities of electronic media make it possible to extend all local, regional and national boundaries and reduce the distance between the sender and the receiver. In this way they can cross cultural boundaries. (Croteau & Hoynes, 2003:401-410).<br />One of the key characteristics of new media are, that instead of the traditional media that offers one-way communication, new media can offer two-way communication called interactivity. The term interactivity stands for a more powerful engagement with media-text, because during the consuming of media text the user is able to directly intervene in and change the images and texts that they access. Examples of the interactivity new media can offer are the text based experience, where users can find bits of information. For example the information they can use for an essay you have to write for school. Thereby new media also gives the ability of interactive communication. An example of this interactive communication is chatting on MSN.<br />If we look again at the form of the traditional format of the magazine and the format of the magazine with the rise of new media we see a difference in the way new media have lead to new textual experiences. For example online magazines will give the reader new textual experience, because of the new textual and visual images in which the magazines are presented. <br />The change in the consumption of media is that it has become virtual. This means that people are able to be in a virtual environment, created by an apparatus that looks like the same environment as the real world and in this way it leads to a new way of representing the world. (Lister & Dovey, 2003: 9-44).<br />At last, one of the biggest trends of digitalization is the fact that consumers are becoming producers/creators. Until the twentieth century there was a powerful filter between self-expression and artistic professionalism. Publishers of media products had the power over the distribution of media products and they could control which amateurs could become a professional. Because of the emergence of the new media group of users this order is disturbed. User generated content (UGC) or " self-produced media” produced by amateurs is the new gold in the media industry. Companies like Google and Yahoo pay millions for it. Websites like Youtube and Myspace give this new group of media user’s virtual space to upload videos. Martha Stone (World Association of Newspapers) describes how some digital newspapers with the help of UGC generate more website visitors and more revenue from advertisers. " If digital newspapers want to grow, they must benefit from the fact that they are using UGC to attract niche audiences.” Research from the ‘World Association of Newspapers’ shows that users feel more informed by the self-produced media. (Michael Opgenhaffen, 2008). This means a huge change in the way the media landscape looks and can have big consequences for the traditional media forms, like women’s magazines. If you are interested in this subject watch the interview from Chris Anderson. <br />Future vision of new media and women’s magazinesAll these theories about new media have a lot of pros en cons in using them for the women’s glossy magazines. Some of them can be very useful and some are not. First the visualization of the magazines, the video of ‘The associated Press’, interviewing David Granger, the chief editor of the U.S Esquire shows us how the magazines in the future will be visualized. The futuristic magazine is powered by six batteries en will last six months. The editors hope to revitalize the medium; David Granger called the new magazine “a new little world prepared for you by somebody else and it is not like the web which is a constant concavely of noise.” The magazines can be updated like the Kindle book reader. <br />Secondly, the magazines are becoming more interactive, as we have discussed before. In the future magazines can also be personalized, like Kevin Lim a blogger of is telling. He is showing a copy of ‘Mine Magazine’, this is an experimental five issue magazine that let you personalize the magazine. You can pick articles from a couple magazines that the publisher ‘Time magazine’ owns, like ‘Sport illustrated’, ‘Golf magazine’ and ‘In style’. On the website you select the magazines you like, you fill in your interests for example the food you like etcetera. All this information will mash up in to a 36 page magazine. Kevin Lim shows his personalized magazine and it’s including 56 combinations of articles of the different magazines. He said: “It is like a printed version of RSS Feed where you can mash up all kinds of Feeds together.” <br />A great opportunity for personalizing a magazine is that it also provides personalized advertising. Because you fill in all your interests so an advertiser can narrow his target group, which is an advertisers dream. When advertisers are willing to pay a certain amount of money the production costs can be reduced, which come in handy in this time of crisis in the magazine industry. Remarkable is that Kevin filled in his address (Williamsville) and an advertisement about cars is saying how easy it is driving with its navigation system to Williamsville. So that shows how personalized the ads can be made. Visualized magazines are also hard to copy, that is in contrast of the digitalization process where content is becoming easier to copy. <br />But on the other hand Kevin is explaining that is difficult to put together random chosen stories from different magazines. Because these different articles have to make sense to one and another. There seems to be no relationship to the different articles because in his opinion some appeal and some do not. It asks more precision than randomly putting some stories together. Because for Kevin: “it doesn’t feel mine yet”. He gives an example of an advertisement of a car he cannot afford, so he suggests that you can fill in your salary on the website so the next time there is an ad of a car he can afford. <br />All these new inventions seem to be great but there are a few critical side notes to make. First, in a time where the magazine industry sees a decline in ad pages and the profits are falling, will the industry invest in such a risky invention? Besides, how much will a futuristic magazine like Esquire cost for the reader? Because the magazine only lasts for six months and magazines are a long consuming goods. At last, will the new magazine have the same relaxed feeling as the printed magazine with all these flashing images? And how will a kiosk in the future look like with all these visual, flashing covers? Like a neon, flickering Christmas tree? <br />A side the critical question marks some magazines are making little steps forward to digitalization and making profits of this digitalization. For example some magazines creating interactive websites which lead to frequently visits to this website. Research from ‘The VISTA’ shows that magazine (ads) have a major impact on building Web traffic. The magazines have the highest score (26%) on effectiveness of media at driving consumers to the Web ( <br />A good example of a magazine which is making a step forward to digitalization is the website of Cosmo girl. This website is interactive and has become a social online meeting point. With different types of (social) cross media forms. The website has a connection to Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. The reader gets attached to the website because they can give input. Like responding to the weblog, where the visitors can discuss about for example fashion or other women’s topics. Through weblogs, editors of the magazine can use the weblog to respond to readers or make direct contact with a reader. The magazine can also exchange ideas and can keep in touch with readers, by using a weblog. (Paul Postma, 2007: 187). The visitors can also watch a lot of short videos about different topics; this is until now the biggest sign of visualization of the magazine content. <br />In conclusion: in the early years of women’s magazines there was a shift in the approach of publishers from targeting only elite women to targeting middle class women as well. From the mid sixties and onwards, the content of magazines changed, the themes were not only domestic anymore and the focus of editors was on ‘the New Woman’, who was financially independent and the other new market: young girls. The biggest changes came when the ‘new media’ technologies were invented and the sales of the magazines went down. The three largest trends: globalization, visualization and interactivity had the biggest impact on the classic women’s magazine format. The magazine industry tries to respond to this trend by making the magazine a whole visual experience and personalizing the magazine. But Kevin Lim shows us that personalizing a magazine asks more precision than randomly putting some stories together and therefore the industry is not ready yet for these new ideas. On the other hand magazines are making steps forward to create interactivity by making interactive websites, for example Cosmo Girl. The industry is not ready yet to change the whole classic magazine format into a visual en personalized magazine. And the readers of these magazines are not ready yet to except this. The visualized magazine might come out within the next ten years but the industry has to prepare the readers first for these new experiences by introducing them to interactive websites. When the right technologies are there and the readers are used to all these new media, the magazine industry can make the next step to make a visual and personalized magazine. <br />References<br />Books:<br />Postma, P.G., Handboek direct marketing 2.0 : marketing via print, DRA, e-mail, web, blogs, mobiele media, telefonie, IVR, sms, DRTV, interactieve tv, podcast, webcast. Amsterdam : Kluwer, 2007<br />Manovich, L.e.v. " New Media From Borges to HTML." The New Media Reader.” Ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin & Nick Montfort. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2003.<br />Lister, M., J. Dovey, S. Giddings, I. Grant & K. Kelly New Media. A critical Introduction.London, Routledge, 2009<br />Croteau, David & William Hoynes Media, Society: Industries, Images and Audiences. London, 2002<br />Thompson, John B. The Media and Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995<br />Articles:<br />Opgenhaffen, M, De commerciële waarde van user generated content. February 2008.<br />Loechner. J, Media Post: “URLs Boost Magazine Ad Response”. July 2009<br />2009.<br /><br />Videos:<br />The associated Press’, interviewing David Granger:<br />Kevin Lim: <br />Interview Chris Anderson:<br />Websites:<br /> <br /> <br /><br /> <br />