Electronic media ‘threat to magazines’

Traditional magazine publishing is under threat from the development of CD-Rom, the Internet and on-line services, according to research published at the Periodical Publishers’ Association’s Magazines ’95 conference this week.

But publishers which adopt the new technology are well-placed to defend their commercial position, and could benefit from cheaper forms of information distribution, the study from The Henley Centre predicts.

Changing social habits will force publishers to extend their brands into new formats. A key factor is the blurring between the work and leisure environment. The Henley Centre estimates that 20 to 25 per cent of the workforce now operates from home on at least a part-time basis and reckons this will encourage further growth in personal computers.

Another report, commissioned by the PPA from Pira International, claims that 15 million PCs in Europe will be equipped with modems by 2000 – driving the on-line market at print’s expense.

The Henley Centre warns that consumers of new media will be better able to dodge an advertiser’s message, allowing conventional publishers to maintain their grip on brand advertising. Clients will be forced to create tactical messages for new media.

The Henley Centre also says this will create an opportunity for multimedia publishers to shore up their share of ad revenue by offering concurrent campaigns as a package.