Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Online Publications

In 1996, Slate magazine appeared as an online only magazine on MSN. It was big news that a regular publication, with brand names in the business, would attempt to succeed on the web. It attempted a subscription approach in 1998 in an effort to find a working business model, but gave that up in less than a year. Advertising support was light at the time.

Not any more. As Paul Ellis points out at in his blog entry "US Magazines Leave Print for Web", it is now a trend. The ecosystem of ad support, readership access and editorial content has reached a tipping point to where the business sense is to eschew the costs of physical print and distribution for the lower cost of online.

An interesting example in Washington State is the introduction recently of Crosscut. This online only daily paper has risen from the ashes of the now defunct "Eastside Week". Editorially at least. It's claim is to be "News From the Great Nearby". Time will tell if nearby reaches to the South Sound.

Our own News Tribune has made great strides in providing online news and community based communication features. What must be difficult for them though is to try and serve two customer bases. Those two being traditional print and online readership. I imagine they are watching closely how the two intersect and consume the news. The Business Journal, the Tacoma Weekly and the Volcano all have an online presence.

I wonder when we will see an online only editorially driven news/magazine launch in the South Sound. If they are already out there. Let me know.

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